Sigourney, Lydia, née Huntley. This distinguished name stood at the head of the female poets of America a generation ago, and is still well remembered. Born in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1791, she conducted a school in the same town from 1809 to 1814, when she removed to Hartford, where she was married to Charles Sigourney in 1819. Most of her subsequent life was spent at Hartford, and she died there, June 10, 1865. Her first publication was Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse, 1815. This was followed by 58 additional works. A thorough exploration of these, or of such of them are poetical, would be necessary to trace her hymns with accuracy. They, however, are more numerous than important. Many have been used in the older collections; some are… Go to person page >
All hail, ye blessed band. [Holy Baptism.] This cento appears in The Service of Song for Baptist Churches, Boston, U.S.A., 1871, No. 815. Its construction is peculiar, as the Maying directions for its use at the public administration of Holy Baptism to adults will indicate:—
" Stanzas 3 to 8 inclusive of this hymn are designed to be sung during the intervals of a baptism; one verse as each candidate goes down into the water, or comes forth from it, according to choice. As it is generally found difficult for a congregation to sing unitedly and at the right time in the administration, it has been suggested that a choir sing these stanzas, the congregation uniting in the first two and the last two, as indicated."
To meet these requirements the cento has been thus composed:—
St. i., ii., "All hail, ye blessed band," to be sung by the congregation, are from Mrs. Lydia Sigourney's hymn, No. 515, in Winchell's Additional Hymns, U.S.A., 1832; st. iii., iv., "Saviour, Thy law we love," to be sung by the choir, are also by Mrs. Sigourney, and from the same source as st. i., ii. St. v., vi. “Here we behold the grave," to be sung by the choir, are by the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, from Our Own Hymn Book, 1866, No. 934. Stanza vii., “Oh, what if we are Christ's " is by Sir H. W. Baker, from Murray's Hymnal, 1852, and, in common with st. viii., "Ashamed who now can be " (Anon.), has to be sung by the choir. The concluding stanzas, ix., x., "Come, sinners, wash away," are Anonymous. They are to be sung by the congregation. Taken together, it is the most dramatic hymn for Divine worship with which we are acquainted.