John Chandler, one of the most successful translators of hymns, was born at Witley in Surrey, June 16, 1806. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, B.A. 1827, M.A. 1830. Ordained deacon in 1831 and priest in 1832, he succeeded his father as the patron and vicar of Whitley, in 1837. His first volume, entitled The Hymns of the Primitive Church, now first Collected, Translated and Arranged, 1837, contained 100 hymns, for the most part ancient, with a few additions from the Paris Breviary of 1736. Four years later, he republished this volume under the title of hymns of the Church, mostly primitive, collected, translated and arranged for public use, 1841. Other publications include a Life of William of Wykeham, 1842, and Horae sacrae: prayers and meditations from the writings of the divines of the Anglican Church, 1854, as well as numerous sermons and tracts. Chandler died at Putney on July 1, 1876.
--The Hymnal 1940 Companion
Chandler, John, M.A.,one of the earliest and most successful of modern translators of Latin hymns, son of the Rev. John F. Chandler, was born at Witley, Godalming, Surrey, June 16, 1806, and educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1827. He took Holy Orders in 1831, and became Vicar of Witley in 1837. He died at Putney, July 1, 1876. Besides numerous Sermons and Tracts, his prose works include Life of William of Wykeham, 1842; and Horae Sacrae; Prayers and Meditations from the writings of the Divines of the Anglican Church, with an Introduction, 1844. His translations, he says, arose out of his desire to see the ancient prayers of the Anglican Liturgy accompanied by hymns of a corresponding date of composition, and his inability to find these hymns until he says,
"My attention was a short time ago directed to some translations [by Isaac Williams] which appeared from time to time in the British Magazine, very beautifully executed, of some hymns extracted from the Parisian Breviary,with originals annexed. Some, indeed, of the Sapphic and Alcaic and other Horatian metres, seem to be of little value; but the rest, of the peculiar hymn-metre, Dimeter Iambics, appear ancient, simple, striking, and devotional—in a word in every way likely to answer our purpose. So I got a copy of the Parisian Breviary , and one or two other old books of Latin Hymns, especially one compiled by Georgius Cassander, printed at Cologne, in the year 1556, and regularly applied myself to the work of selection and translation. The result is the collection I now lay before the public." Preface, Hymns of the Primitive Church, viii., ix.
This collection is:—
(1) The Hymns of the Primitive Church, now first Collected, Translated, and Arranged, by the Rev. J. Chandler. London, John W. Parker, 1837. These translations were accompanied by the Latin texts. The trsanslations rearranged, with additional translations, original hymns by Chandler and a few taken from other sources, were republished as (2) The Hymns of the Church, mostly Primitive, Collected, Translated, and Arranged/or Public Use, by the Rev. J. Chandler, M.A. London, John W. Parker, 1841.
From these works from 30 to 40 translations have come gradually into common use, some of which hold a foremost place in modern hymnals, "Alleluia, best and sweetest;" "Christ is our Corner Stone;" "On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry;" "Jesus, our Hope, our hearts' Desire;" "Now, my soul, thy voice upraising;" "Once more the solemn season calls;" and, "O Jesu, Lord of heavenly grace;" being those which are most widely used. Although Chandler's translations are somewhat free, and, in a few instances, doctrinal difficulties are either evaded or softened down, yet their popularity is unquestionably greater than the translations of several others whose renderings are more massive in style and more literal in execution.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)