Robert Grant (b. Bengal, India, 1779; d. Dalpoorie, India, 1838) was influenced in writing this text by William Kethe’s paraphrase of Psalm 104 in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1561). Grant’s text was first published in Edward Bickersteth’s Christian Psalmody (1833) with several unauthorized alterations. In 1835 his original six-stanza text was published in Henry Elliott’s Psalm and Hymns (The original stanza 3 was omitted in Lift Up Your Hearts).
Of Scottish ancestry, Grant was born in India, where his father was a director of the East India Company. He attended Magdalen College, Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1807. He had a distinguished public career a Governor of Bombay and as a member of the British Parliament, where… Go to person page >
The starry firmament on high. Sir B. Grant. [Psalm xix.] This was given in Lord Glenelg's posthumous edition of Grant's Sacred Poems, 1839, p. 28, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed with the following words:—
"This is intended as a sequel or counterpart to Addison's hymn, 'The spacious firmament.' It corresponds to the latter portion of the 19th Psalm, as Addison's does to the former."
The use of this paraphrase in its full form is confined to a few American collections. The last stanza, "Almighty Lord, the sun shall fail," is given in Laudes Domini, N. Y., 1884, as No. 233.
The original version of WINCHESTER NEW appeared in Musikalisches Handbuch der geistlichen Melodien, published in Hamburg, Germany, in 1690 by Georg Wittwe. It was set to the text “Wer nur den lieben Gott” (see 446). An expanded version of the tune was a setting for "Dir, dir Jehova" (see 203) in…