James Frederick Swift

Short Name: James Frederick Swift
Full Name: Swift, James Frederick (See also, Marks, Godfrey, Musician)
Birth Year: 1847
Death Year: 1931

Used pseudonym Godfrey Marks. See also Marks, Godfrey (Musician)
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Swift, James Frederick, son of Joseph Swift, was born at Manchester, Dec. 28, 1847. In 1851 he removed with his parents to Liverpool, where he was educated at the Commercial School of Liverpool College. At an early age he displayed a talent for music, and performed in public as a pianist as early as 1859. In 1863 he was appointed organist at the Cranmer Wesleyan Chapel. Subsequently he was organist at St. Andrew's Church, Liver¬pool, for 10 years, and then, from 1886 to the present, at St. Bride's, in the same city. He has composed a large number of songs and instrumental pieces under the nom-de-plume of "Godfrey Marks." He has also written a number of hymns and sacred odes, for which he has composed music. From these eight were published with the music, in 1875, as Hymns for Home and Sacred Festivals (London, Novello). From this small collection the following hymns have come into common use:—
1. When evening shadows gather. Evening. Written in 1873, and first sung in public at the Wesleyan Choral.
Festival in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, in 1874. It was included in his Hymns for Home, &c, No. 8, in 5 stanzas of 8 lines. It then passed into Thring's Collection, 1882, the Prim. Methodist Hymnal, 1887, and others. It is a very beautiful Evening Hymn.
2. Have you heard the sweet, sweet story? Life of Jesus. Written in 1874, and published in his Hymns for Home, &c, 1875, No. 4, in 5 stanzas of 8 lines, with a chorus of 4 lines.
3. When life is gay with sunshine. Refuge in Trouble. Written in 1874, and published in his Hymns for Home, &c, 1875, No. 7, in 3 st. of 8 1.
Of these hymns Nos. 2, 3 have been largely used at Sunday School Anniversaries and similar gatherings.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


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