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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Critical and Biographical Essay by Alfred H. Miles

Richard Mant (1776–1848)

RICHARD MANT, a devout Churchman and refined Christian poet, was born at Southampton, on the 12th of February, 1776. His father, the Rev. Richard Mant, D.D., Rector of All Saints’ Church, Southampton, sent him to Winchester school, from whence he proceeded to Oxford, where he distinguished himself by gaining the Chancellor’s prize for an essay on “Commerce” in 1799. After graduating as M.A, in 1801, he was ordained deacon, and took a travelling tutorship, in which capacity he visited the Continent of Europe. Upon his return, having taken Priest’s Orders, he became successively curate at Buriton and Crawley in Hampshire. In the year 1800 he issued his first poetic publication, “Verses to the memory of Joseph Warton, D.D.” This was followed in 1802 by the “Poetical Works of Thomas Warton, Poet Laureate,” with a memoir of his life in two volumes. A small volume of miscellaneous poems appeared in 1806, followed by “The Slave, and other Poetical Pieces, being an Appendix to Poems,” 1807. In 1810 he was presented to the living of Great Coggeshall in Essex, and from this time forward continued to contribute largely to Church literature. In 1811 he was elected Bampton lecturer, in which office he greatly distinguished himself, attracting considerable attention and laying the foundation of preferment which followed rapidly. In 1815 he became Rector of St. Botolph’s, Bishopsgate; and in 1818, Vicar of East Horsley, Surrey. In 1820 he was consecrated Bishop of Killaloe, and in 1823 was translated to the See of Down and Connor, the charge of the diocese of Dromore falling upon him in 1842. He died on November 2nd, 1848.

Among his larger prose works may be named his edition of the Bible with notes and commentaries, prepared in conjunction with Dr. D’Oyly, a work which was popular in its day. Of his later poetic works the following are the titles in order of publication: “The Book of Psalms,” an English metrical version, with notes and illustrations (1824); “The Gospel Miracles,” in a series of poetical sketches, with illustrative conversations (1832); “The British Months,” a poem in twelve parts, “full of feeling, and accurate observation of nature” (1835); “Ancient Hymns, from the Roman Breviary for Domestic Use, with some Original Hymns” (1837); “The Sundial of Armoy,” written in Latin and English, the two versions being printed on opposite pages (1847), and “The Matin Bell,” a poem written at Oxford, near the spot where Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were burnt (1848).

Dr. Mant’s poetry is characterised by refined thought and earnest Christian feeling. Some of his hymns are still sung, and hold their own in anthologies of sacred song.