Born: De­cem­ber 14, 1824, Don­cas­ter, Eng­land.

Died: March 6, 1901, Ox­ford, Eng­land.

Buried: In the Christ Church sec­tion of Os­ney Ce­me­te­ry, Ox­ford, Eng­land.


Bright was edu­cat­ed at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege, Ox­ford (BA 1846, MA 1849). In 1847, he was a John­son’s Theo­lo­gic­al Schol­ar, and in 1848 won the El­ler­ton Theo­lo­gic­al Es­say prize. He was elect­ed a Fel­low in 1847, and sub­se­quent­ly be­came Tu­tor of his Col­lege.

Taking Ho­ly Or­ders in 1848, he was for some time tu­tor at Tri­ni­ty Col­lege, Glen­al­mond. In 1859 he re­turned to Ox­ford, and in 1868 be­came Re­gi­us Pro­fes­sor of Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal His­to­ry and Can­on of Christ Church.




Yes, he will come; God knoweth when or where—
But we may see, perchance,
Around us tokens, neither dim nor rare,
That herald his advance—
Lord Jesus, root Thy love our hearts within,
Our safeguard when we name the Man of Sin.

Whene’er we look beyond the holiest ground,
What signs unblest we see!
Such hate of zeal, such earthliness profound,
Such lack of godly fear,
Such wrath provoked by Doctrine’s very name,
Such fixed rejection of Thy Kingdom’s claim!

Content with nature, thousands cast out grace
From their Pelagian creed;
No marvel, then, they give a Church no place
Whereof they feel no need.
So, when she stands across their state-craft’s way,
No king but Cæsar sums up all they say.

To scorn her priests, her Sacraments disown,
Seems but a light thing now;
Men call their conscience—free, supreme, alone—
The Word to which they bow;
And fast outgrow the credence of their youth,
That Christ is God, and all His words are truth.

These are the shadows, gathering darker gloom
Ere yet the storm breaks out;
Ere Europe sees a modern Heathendom,
With wild blaspheming rout,
Break every bond, and cast off every cord
That links the Christian races to their Lord.

And daily bolder grows their downward course
Who turn from Christ away,
To worship human genius, grandeur, force—
Whose hopes await the day
When—Creed and prayer ’neath feet of Progress trod—
Earth shall re-echo—Man alone is God.

Ah! then shall he that leads that cry accurst
’Mid rebels wear the crown;
Of worldly heroes proudest, last and worst,
Shall see the world bow down,
Its sin shall concentrate, its power shall wield,
And face the Church as Antichrist revealed.

Apostates’ type and chief, and idol, too,
The lawless one shall tower
Enthroned in temples reared for worship true,
And have his destined hour
To speak great words against the Lord on high,
And strive to make His saints His Name deny.

Sternest of trials! who shall come forth bright?
They, only they, that cling,
As with hands, with heart and soul and might,
To their Incarnate King—
Lord, help us now to prize what then shall be
Their one support—the Faith that lives on Thee.

William Bright
Hymns and Oth­er Po­ems, 1866