Sunday, 7 December 2008

Once In Royal David's City

The Irish children’s poet, Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), wrote "Once In Royal David’s City." Cecil knew that children loved poetry and could memorise the great truths of scripture quickly and many of her poems were written to help make the Bible more understandable to them. In 1848 she published a volume of these hymns for children that has probably never been equalled. Amongst the hymns included in her collection were “There Is A Green Hill Far Away” and “All Things Bright and Beautiful” along with “Once In Royal David’s City.” Two years after her volume of children’s hymns was published, Cecil married William Alexander, a parish minister who later became a Bishop and then Archbishop of Ireland. In the early days of their marriage, they served a church in an impoverished rural area. Cecil did not just sit back and write poetry and weep for the needs of her poor neighbours. It is said “From one poor house to another, from one bed of sickness to another, from one sorrow to another, she went. Christ was ever with her and in her, and all felt her influence.” Later she gave the profits from her hymnbook to support handicapped children in the north of Ireland.
Originally posted on the Songfacts website.

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