Hymns for Children, in Prose, by Mrs. Barbauld
Mrs. (Anna Laetitia) Barbauld (1743–1825).
Hymns in Prose for Children. By the Author of Lessons for Children. The Sixteenth Edition, Much Enlarged.
London: Printed for J. Johnson and Company, 1814. (BRA0799)
Anna Laetitia Barbauld was a prominent English author who wrote in several genres including poetry, essays, and children’s literature. Her Lessons for Children, a series of primers for various ages first printed in 1778–1779, had a significant influence on publications for children as it took both the abilities and needs of young readers into account. In the preface to Hymns in Prose for Children, first published in 1781, the author is also concerned with the capacities of children to read, understand, and appreciate religious material. She writes that she “has therefore chosen to give them in prose. They are intended to be committed to memory and recited.…The peculiar design of this publication is to impress devotional feelings as early as possible on the infant mind; to lay the best foundation for practical devotion in future life.” Hymn IX, beginning “Come, let us walk abroad,” is typical of the inviting and conversational style found throughout the volume.