Monday, October 2, 2017

Fanny J. Crosby

Fanny J. Crosby (1820—1915) is most famous as a writer of gospel songs, having written songs that appear in virtually every church hymnal up to the present day. She wrote more than 9,000 hymns and gospel songs, besides the secular songs she wrote and the four collections of poetry she had published.

When she was six weeks old she caught a cold. While their family doctor was away, her illness was treated by a man pretending to be a doctor who prescribed hot mustard poultices to be placed on her eyes. This treatment left her blind, and caused the imposter to quickly leave town.

Her hymns were of great significance in the evangelistic campaigns of Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey. Some of her most popular songs include: "Blessed Assurance", "All the Way My Savior Leads Me", "To God Be the Glory", "Rescue the Perishing", and "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross."

The following poem is from her poetry collection The Blind Girl, and Other Poems (1844). Crosby included an epigraph with the poem, explaining that she visited the Falls in September of 1843 with her blind companions from the New York Institution for the Blind.


Awake, my muse! thy wings expand!
----Oh, what sublimity is here!
Niagara's mighty thunders burst
----With awful grandeur on mine ear.
Niagara! on thy brink I stand,
----And taste unutterable bliss;
What pen, what language can portray
----A scene so wonderful as this?
Father Divine!— we lift our hearts
----In humble gratitude to thee—
Who spreads the azure vault above,
----Whose hand controls the boisterous sea!
Thou bades the foaming cataract roll!
----Thou forms the rainbow tints we see!
We gaze— we wonder and admire—
----Niagara!— we are lost in thee.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.