Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >
Behold the lofty sky. I. Watts. [Ps. xix.] 1st published in his Psalms of David, &c, 1719, being a paraphrase of the first part of Psalm xix., and headed "The Book of Nature and Scripture. For a Lord's-Day Morning." It is in 8 stanzas of 4 lines; and was given with the omission of stanza vi. in J. Wesley's Psalms & Hymns, Charlestown, South Carolina, 1736-7, p. 08. The paraphrase, "Behold the morning sun," deals in 8 stanzas of 4 lines with another aspect of the same Psalm, and is given next after the above in the Psalms, &c, 1719. Both paraphrases, usually abbreviated, are in common use, the latter specially in America. In Martineau's Hymns, 1840 and 1873, the hymn "Behold the lofty sky," No. 247, is a cento from these two paraphrases, stanzas i., ii. being from the first, and iii.—vi. from the second.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)