Born: January 2, 1784, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Died: July 16, 1868, Northampton, Massachusetts.
Buried: Bridge Street Cemetery, Northampton, Massachusetts.
William was the son of Thomas Allen and Elizabeth Lee. He married twice: to Maria Malleville Wheelock (1813) and Sarah Johnson Breed (1831).
He served as a pastor in Pittsfield (1810), and as president of Dartmouth University (1817) and Bowdoin College (1820–39).
Could we but strike the fitting string
Of Gabriel’s harp this joyful morn,
In which our Savior, Christ, was born,
Our notes through heav’n’s high arch would ring—
Glory to God supreme, most high;
Peace to earth’s warring race below!
From God to men what mercies flow!
Such songs once filled the bright, blue sky.
For on this morn in manger laid
Was God’s own Son and Mary’s Son,
In brightness greater than the sun
And blazing stars, His hands had made.
Gaze, pilgrim, now upon the cross!
There hung, while sun is veiled in night,
The sacrifice of God’s delight,
Redeemer of our soul’s great loss.
Though He foresaw the agony
Of every blow and nail-crushed nerve,
His steadfast spirit did not swerve:
For man’s great guilt it needs must be!
But soon the grave His power doth know;
He bursts the tomb, and wings His way
Up to His home in heaven’s bright day.
Where purest joys eternal flow!
Strike, all ye angels! Strike again,
Ye ransomed souls, your harps of gold
In praise of Jesus’ love untold,
Whose death is endless life to men!
William Allen, Poems of Nazareth
and the Cross, 1866