A Lyrical and Descriptive Hymn That Connects
Prolific English poet and hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal penned “Like A River Glorious” which English hymn writer James Mountain set to a classic hymn tune. In 1876 Havergal was suffering a cold and lung illness while away in the South of Wales. Her illness was diagnosed as serious and she might die. She survived her illness and wrote a poignant poem expressing her faith that whatever the outcome, she was content knowing God had made ready for her the perfect peace and the perfect rest. Mountain composed beautiful music for “Like A River Glorious” and published it in a sacred song hymnal called Hymns of Consecration and Faith, and Sacred Songs for Missions, Prayer and Praise Meetings. The simple music of “Like A River Glorious” is played with articulations in Legato complementing the poetic praise Havergal attributes to the Lord. Mountain used to be a pastor in Buckinghamshire but he quit because of his poor health. When he wasn’t composing, he was going around Britain on an evangelical tour and even took this tour abroad. His compositions which were played on the tour made them popular among those whom Mountain was able to touch with his ministry work. Havergal began writing verses at age 7. She published volumes of her work including hymns, prose, and poems. Without formal education, she succeeded to become a scholar, poet and hymn writer. She was such an accomplished hymn writer, specifically with “Like A River Glorious”-- it was said that her well-known song could be heard being sung by the people in many homes apart from the chapels. She was well-versed in 7 languages including Greek. Her hymns and poetry were published. On top of that, J. and R. Parlane printed leaflets and Caswell & Co. printed ornamental cards containing her hymns. The subject of most was Havergal’s perfect surrender to the Lord and these works endeared her to many. She passed away at age 43 (1879).