Born: Early April 1818, Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland.
Died: October 12, 1895, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Buried: Derry City Cemetery, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Alexander was the wife of William Alexander, bishop of Derry and Raphoe, and later the Anglican primate for Ireland.
Cecil and her sister founded a school for the deaf, and she set up the Girls’ Friendly Society in Londonderry. She wrote about 400 hymns in her lifetime.
Young heart, impatient of thy powers,
Why wilt thou fret to know
That knowledge comes with weary hours,
And heavy step, and slow?
That each thing great in its degree
In toil and care begins,
And no perfection here may be
But that which labor wins?
Perchance ’twas writ to do thee shame,
That He whom angels praise
Paused o’er His fair creation’s frame,
And lingered six long days.
His word at once had hung them there,
Planet, and star, and sun;
Perchance to teach thee patient care,
He made them one by one.
Think how the great world silent lay,
A void and formless place,
God’s Spirit brooding far away
Over the water’s face—
Till bursting on that darkness wide
The glorious light had birth,
And in her beauty and her pride,
He made the fair young earth.
Three days she hung all cold and still,
Wrapped in that sunless light,
No golden luster on the hill,
No silver moon at night.
God made the sun, and in his ray
Sprang flowers by stream and meadow,
On all her heights the sunlight lay,
And on her sward, the shadow.
The graceful moonbeams touched her sod
With slanting silver bars,
Shouted for joy the sons of God,
And sang the morning stars.
Slowly He wrought, and duly set
All things above, below—
Wilt thou, His creature, chide and fret
If thine advance be slow?
Patience, and zeal, and toil He asks—
Then let thine heart be strong,
Nor weary of thy lowly tasks,
Because the time is long.
Cecil Frances Alexander
Poems on Subjects in the
Old Testament, 1854