1811–1875

Introduction

Born: March 2, 1811, St. Col­umb’s, Lon­don­der­ry, Ire­land.

Died: Ap­ril 9, 1875, Guild­ford, Sur­rey, Eng­land.

Buried: Guild­ford Ce­me­tery, Guild­ford, Sur­rey, Eng­land.

portrait

Biography

John was the son of Tho­mas Bew­ley Mon­sell, arch­dea­con of Lon­don­der­ry, Ire­land.

He at­tend­ed Trin­i­ty Col­lege in Du­blin, and was or­dained in 1834.

In 1853, he was as­signed to a post in Eng­land. He was vi­car of Eg­ham, Sur­rey, un­til 1870, and rec­tor at St. Ni­cho­las’, Guild­ford, un­til 1875, when he was killed by a fall from the roof of the church while it was be­ing re­built.

Publications

His 11 vol­umes of po­et­ry en­com­pass al­most 300 hymns.

Poem

Where Is My Grave?

Where is my grave? ’mid the silent dead
Of the churchyard throng shall I lay my head?
Shall I sleep in peace with those who erst
In happier years my childhood nursed,
With them beneath the same green sod,
My soul with theirs gone to meet its God?

Where is my grave? in the mighty deep
’Mid the treasures of ocean-caves shall I sleep?
With those who have slept there for ages before
Far from their loved and native shore,
The sand my bed, the rocks my pillow,
And cradled to rest by the tossing billow?

Where is my grave? on the battle plain,
Where sleep in the warrior’s bed the slain?
Where fiercely the rush of the war-steed past,
Where the tyrant hath fought and breathed his last,
And the foe and the friend one common bed share,
Shall the place of my last repose be there?

Where is my grave? ’neath some foreign sky
Shall I lay down my wearied limbs and die?
Far over mountain, far over wave,
Shall the wild flowers bloom on my lonely grave,
In the land of the stranger, where none are near
To breathe the soft sigh, and to shed the sad tear?

Where is my grave? in the burning sand
Of Afric’s bright and sultry land
Shall I sleep, when my toil and labor are o’er,
A weary shepherd on that far shore,
With no record to tell, save the cross by my side,
Of what faith I had preached, in what hope I had died?

Where is my grave? It matters not where!
But to my home beyond—it is there, it is there
Where God wipes tears from every eye,
And the Lamb is the light of a sunless sky,
Where sin, and death, and sorrow o’er,
They who enter in go out no more.

John S. B. Monsell
Parish Musings, 1863

Sources

Lyrics

Music

Help Needed

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Mon­sell (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?