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 >
Shine, mighty God, on Britain shine. J. Watts. [Ps. lxvii. National Hymn.] Appeared in his Psalms of David, &c, 1719, p. 170, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, with the heading, "The Nation's prosperity, and the Church's increase," and with the following note:—
"Having translated the scene of this Psalm to Great Britain, I have borrow'd a devout and poetical Wish for the Happiness of my native Land from Zech. 2.5. and offer'd it up in the 2nd Stanza, “I will be a Wall of Fire round about, and will be the Glory in the Midst of her.'"
This second stanza, which is bracketed as not being a part of the Psalm, is:—
"Amidst our Isle exalted high
Do Thou, our Glory, stand,
And like a Wall of Guardian Fire
Surround the Favourite Land."
This version of Ps. 67 is used (1) in its original form; (2) with the omission of stanza ii.; (3) as "Shine, mighty God, on this our land"; (4) as "Shine, mighty God, on Zion shine;" and (5) as "Shine on our land, Jehovah shine."
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Shine, mighty God, on Britain shine, p. 1055, ii. This paraphrase of Ps. lxvii. was given in Watts's Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1st ed., 1707, bk. i.,No. 35, and repeated in his Psalms of David, 1719.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)