William was the son of Samuel Tappan and Aurelia Bingham, and husband of Amelia Colton.
He was a clock maker, pastor, and evangelist. In 1822, he became Superintendent of the American Sunday School Union. In 1849, he was ordained as a Congregational minister.
Child of earth and heaven, Repentance!
Of our solemn joys a part,
Riddle to the rebel bosom,
Solved by every lowly heart—
Thou, the moment I beheld thee,
Wast a fiend to my despair;
Presently, in clearer vision,
Wast a seraph, passing fair.
Then I loved thee, then embraced thee,
Then I tasted bliss divine;
Talk they of superior pleasures?
Angels might have envied mine.
Happy angels, with their harpings,
Standing on the crystal floor,
Never knew his blessèd sorrow,
Who, forgiven, loves the more.
Darkened earth, a wandering planet
From its center and its sun,
Has a joy obedient Heaven,
Shining Heaven, never won.
Hand in hand with me, Repentance,
Close companion, since has trod;
Thus—till on me gleam the turrets,
And the battlements of God:
Thus—to Jordan’s swelling river,
Weeping, singing to the gate;
Part we then, and part forever,
Where the steeds and chariot wait.
God forgive the tear I render!
God account it not a sin,
If a thought of sweet Repentance
Steals to Heaven and enters in!
William Bingham Tappan
Gems of Sacred Poetry, 1860