1785–1866

Introduction

Born: Ap­ril 6, 1785, Litch­field, Con­nec­ti­cut.

Died: Au­gust 27, 1866, Med­ford, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Mt. Au­burn Ce­me­te­ry, Cam­bridge, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

portrait
portrait

Biography

Pierpont gra­du­at­ed from Yale Col­lege (1804), worked as a tu­tor in New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut, and Charles­town, South Ca­ro­li­na, then be­came a law­yer in 1812.

Shortly af­ter, he left law and went in­to bu­si­ness, onl­y to leave it, too, and at­tend Har­vard Col­lege to stu­dy the­o­lo­gy.

In 1819, he be­came pas­tor of the Un­i­tar­i­an church in Hol­lis Street, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts. His zeal against drink­ing and slav­e­ry made him re­sign in 1840.

In 1845, he be­came pas­tor of a Un­i­tar­i­an con­gre­ga­tion in Troy, New York. He served an­oth­er Un­i­tar­i­an church in Med­ford, Mas­sa­chu­setts (1849–59).

At age 70, he be­came a chap­lain in the Am­er­i­can ar­my, and was lat­er ap­point­ed a clerk in the Trea­su­ry De­part­ment in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

Publications

Poem

Christmas Hymn

No moon hung o’er the sleeping earth,
But, on their thrones of light,
The stars, that sang ere morning’s birth,
Filled up the vault of night
With heav’nly music; earthly ears
Not often catch that hymn;
It was the music of the spheres,
The song of seraphim.

But there were those in Judah’s land,
Who watched, that night, their fold,
Who heard the song of angel band,
As over them unrolled
The starry glory; and there came
This burst of heav’nly song,
From shining trumpets, lips of flame,
In chorus loud and long.

“To God be glory! For, this day,
Hath shot, from Judah’s stem,
A Branch, that ne’er shall know decay:
The royal diadem
Shall grace the brow of One, whom ye
Shall in a manger find;
For, Him hath God raised up to be
The Savior of mankind.

To God be glory! Peace on earth!
Glory to God again!
For, with this infant Savior’s birth,
There comes good will to men!

Good will to men! O God, we hail
This, of Thy law the sum;
For, as this shall o’er earth prevail,
So shall Thy kingdom come.

Based on John Pierpont,
Airs of Palestine and Other Poems, 1840

Sources

Lyrics