Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father's church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include "Holy, Holy, Holy," are still in use today.
-- Greg Scheer, 1995… Go to person page >
From foes that would the land devour. Bishop R. Heber. [National Hymn.] Appeared in his posthumous Hymns, &c. 1827, for the 23rd Sun. after Trinity, in 2 stanzas of 8 lines. Although not usually used as such it is well adapted as a national hymn. Dr. Kennedy gives it in his Hymnologia Christiana, 1863, No. 735, in an unaltered form, as one of a group of national hymns, under "Easter." Although but little used in Great Britain, it is given in several American hymnals.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)