1814–1863

Introduction

portrait

Born: June 28, 1814, Cal­ver­ley vi­car­age, West York­shire, Eng­land.

Died: Sep­tem­ber 26, 1863, Bromp­ton, Ken­sing­ton, Mid­dle­sex, Eng­land.

Buried: Or­a­to­ry House, Red­nal, Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land.

Biography

Son of an An­gli­can cler­ic, Fa­ber gra­du­at­ed from Bal­li­ol College, Ox­ford. He was or­dained an An­gli­can min­is­ter, and be­came rec­tor of El­ton (then in Hunt­ing­don­shire, now in Cam­bridge­shire) in 1843.

Three years lat­er, he switched to Ro­man Ca­thol­i­cism and found­ed the Bro­ther­hood of St. Phil­ip Ne­ri, in King Will­iam Street, Strand. He lat­er moved to the Bromp­ton Or­a­to­ry.

Fa­ber published a num­ber of prose works, and three vol­umes of hymns. It was in Je­sus and Ma­ry that ma­ny of his best hymns first ap­peared. In its pre­face, he wrote:

It was na­tur­al that an Eng­lish son of St. Phil­ip should feel the want of a col­lect­ion of Eng­lish Cath­o­lic hymns fit­ted for sing­ing. The few in the Gar­den of the Soul were all that were at hand, and, of course, they were not nu­mer­ous enough to fur­nish the re­qui­site var­i­ety.

As to trans­la­tions they do not ex­press Sax­on thoughts and feel­ings, and con­se­quent­ly the poor do not seem to take to them.

The do­mes­tic wants of the Or­a­to­ry, too, kept alive the feel­ing that some­thing of the sort was need­ed; though at the same time the au­thor’s ig­no­rance of mu­sic ap­peared in some mea­sure to dis­qual­i­fy him for the work of sup­ply­ing the de­fect.

Eleven, how­ev­er, of the hymns were writ­ten, most of them, for par­ti­cu­lar tunes and on par­ti­cu­lar oc­ca­sions, and be­came ve­ry po­pu­lar with a coun­try con­gre­g­ation.

They were af­ter­wards print­ed for the schools at St. Wil­frid’s, and the ve­ry nu­mer­ous ap­pli­ca­tions to the print­er for them seemed to show that, in spite of ve­ry glar­ing li­ter­a­ry de­fects, such as care­less gram­mar or sli­pshod me­tre, peo­ple were anx­ious to have Ca­th­o­lic hymns of any sort.

The MS. of the pre­sent vol­ume was sub­mit­ted to a mu­sic­al friend, who re­plied that cer­tain vers­es of all or near­ly all the hymns would do for sing­ing; and this en­cour­age­ment has led to the pub­li­ca­tion of this vol­ume.

Sources

Lyrics