Milton, John, was born in London, Dec. 9, 1608, and died there Nov. 8, 1674. His poetical excellences and his literary fame are matters apart from hymnology, and are fully dealt with in numerous memoirs. His influence on English hymn-writing has been very slight, his 19 versions of various Psalms having lain for the most part unused by hymnal compilers. The dates of his paraphrases are:—
Ps. cxiv. and cxxxvi., 1623, when he was 15 years of ago. These were given in his Poems in English and Latin 1645.
Ps. lxxx.-lxxxviii., written in 1648, and published as Nine Psalmes done into Metre, 1645.
Ps. i., 1653; ii., “Done August 8, 1653;" iii., Aug. 9, 1653; iv. Aug. 10, 1653; v., Aug. 12, 1653; vi., Aug. 13, 1653; vii.Aug. 14, 1653; viii… Go to person page >
This is the month, and this the happy morn. J.Milton. [Christmas.] This is the opening of Milton's great ode On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, written in his 21st year (1629), and found in all editions of his Works. It has an introduction of 4 stanzas of 7 lines, and then follows the hymn proper in 27 stanzas of 8 lines beginning, "It was the winter wild." From this the following centos have come into common use:--
1. It was the winter wild (stanza i.). This is in a few collections.
2. No war or battle's sound (stanza iv.). This is in H. W. Beecher's Plymouth Collection, 1855, and other American hymnbooks.
3. Ring out ye crystal spheres (stanza xiii.) In Hymns for the Use of the University of Oxford in St. Mary's Church, 1872, and others.
4. This is the month, and this the happy morn. From the Introduction to the hymn.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)