Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs
“There is great delight in the very learning of truths and duties this way. What is learnt in verse is longer retained in memory and soon recollected.”
—Isaac Watts in Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children
Sacred verse set to music and sung during services is an integral element of Christian worship, whether intended to express religious doctrine or personal devotion. These collections of hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs, published in England in the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries, were composed specifically for children. In contrast to other types of texts meant for a child’s personal education and private devotion, the works in this section contain verses for communal worship. Of special interest are titles printed for the use of particular, named groups of poor children and orphans in public services. In all of these works, the verses provided young worshippers with texts of adoration, praise, and prayer.