Born: No­vem­ber 6, 1804, Sum­mer Hill (near Birm­ing­ham), War­wick­shire, Eng­land.

Died: Ap­ril 6, 1889, Tor­quay, De­von, Eng­land.

Buried: Mill Road Ce­me­te­ry, Cam­bridge, Eng­land.


Benjamin was the son of Rann Ken­ne­dy, some­time in­cum­bent of St. Paul’s Church in Birm­ing­ham and ed­it­or of A Church of En­gland Psalm-Book (1821).

He was edu­cat­ed at King Ed­ward’s School, Bir­ming­ham; Shrews­bu­ry School; and St. John’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge (BA, 1827, First Me­dal­ist).

He was Fel­low of his Col­lege (1828–36); Head­mas­ter of Shrews­bu­ry School (1836–66); and Re­gi­us Pro­fes­sor of Greek at the Un­i­ve­rs­ity of Cam­bridge and Can­on of Ely, 1867.

He took Ho­ly Or­ders in 1829, and was for some time pre­ben­da­ry in Lich­field Ca­thed­ral and rec­tor of West Fel­ton, Shrop­shire. He was elect­ed Hon­or­a­ry Fellow of St. John’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge, in 1880.

Kennedy ver­si­fied ma­ny of the psalms, and wrote and trans­lat­ed nu­mer­ous oth­er hymns, as well.



The World Passeth Away

1 John 2:17

Awake, again the Gospel trump is blown;
From year to year it swells with louder tone;
From year to year the signs of wrath
Are gathering round the Judge’s path:
Strange words fulfilled, and mighty works achieved,
And truth in all the world
Both hated and believed.

Behold, the world is thronging round to gaze
On the dread vision of the latter days,
Constrained to own Thee, but in heart
Prepared to take Barabbas’ part;
Hosanna now, tomorrow Crucify,
The changeful burden still
Of their rude lawless cry.

The bad and good their several warnings give
Of HIs approach, whom none may see and live:
Faith’s ear, with awful still delight,
Counts them like minute-bells at night,
Keeping the heart awake till dawn of morn,
While to the funeral pile
This agèd world is borne.

But what are heaven’s alarms to hearts that cower
In willful slumber, deepening every hour,
That draw their curtains closer round
The nearer swells the trumpet’s sound?
Lord, ere out trembling lamps sink down and die,
Touch us with chastening hand,
And make us feel Thee nigh.

Benjamin Hall Kennedy
Hymnologia Christiana, 1863