1779 - 1843 Composer of "[Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light]" in The New Make Christ King Key, Francis Scott, was born in Frederick County, Maryland, 1779, and educated at St. John's College, Annapolis. He practised as a lawyer in Washington, District of Columbia, and was the United States District Attorney there till his death on Jan. 11, 1843. His poetical pieces, which were printed in various works, were collected and published in New York as Poems in 1857. His hymns in common use include:—
1. Before the lord we bow. National Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving hymn for the 4th July was published in 1832, and was probably written for the celebration of that year. It is in use in Great Britain and America.
2. If life's pleasures charm [cheer] thee. The heart for God only. Appeared in The Christian Lyre, 1830.
3. Faith is the Christian's evidence. Faith.
4. Lord, with glowing heart I'll praise Thee. Praise for Pardon and Peace. Published in Dr. Mühlenberg's Church Poetry, 1823, the Prayer Book Collection, 1826, &c.; and altered as "Lord, with fervor I would praise Thee," in the Unitarian Hymns for the Church of Christ, Boston, 1853. In the Oberlin, Ohio, Manual of Praise, 1880, it begins with st. ii., "Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee."
Of these hymns Nos. 1, 2, and 4 are in the Lyra Sacra Americana, 1868, together with the following:—
5. Behold the grant the King of kings. All things in Christ.
6. My God, my Father, may I dare. God, the Father.
7. When troubles, wave on wave, assail'd. Efficacy of Prayer.
F. S. Key was also the author of "The Star Spangled Banner" (1814). For original text of his pieces see the Poems, 1857. [Rev. F. M. Bird, M.A.]
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Francis Scott Key