Brooke, Stopford Augustus, M.A., was born at Letterkenny, Donegal, Nov. 14, 1832, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating B.A. 1856; M.A. 1858. He carried off the Downes prize and the Vice-Chancellor’s prize for English verse. On taking Holy Orders he was successively Curate of St. Matthew’s, Marylebone, 1857-59; of Kensington, 1860-63; Chaplain to the British Embassy at Berlin, 1863-65; Minister of St. James’s Chapel, York Street, London, 1866-75; and of Bedford Chapel, 1876. He was also appointed Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen, in 1872. In 1865 he published the Life and Letters of the late F. W. Robertson; in 1874, Theology in the English Poets; in 1876, Primer of English Literature, &c. On seceding from the Church of England in 1881, he published for the use of his congregation, Christian Hymns, a collection of 269 pieces. Of these he is the author of:—
- Immortal Love, within Whose righteous will. Resignation and Prayer for Guidance. No. 183, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines. It has a strong likeness to Card. Newman’s “Lead, kindly light,” is in the same metre, and might be called a companion hymn thereto. It was repeated in Horder’s Congregational Hymns, 1884.
- It fell upon a summer day. Christ blessing little children. No. 250, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines.
- It is finished, all the pain. Good Friday. No. 80, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines.
- Let the whole creation cry. Invitation to Praise God. An imitation of Ps. 148. It is No. 47, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines, and is of special merit. In st. iv., 11. 3, 4 are from another source.
- Mysterious Spirit, unto Whom. Rest and Joy in God. Based on a translation by J. G. Whittier from Lamartine. It is No. 159, in 3 stanzas of 8 lines. It was repeated in Horder’s Congregational Hymns, 1884.
- Now that day its wings has furled. Evening. No. 13, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines.
- O God, Whose love is near. Divine protection desired. No. 103, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. This is Toplady’s “Your harps, ye trembling Saints” re-written, only st. i. and iv. being absolutely by Mr. Brooke.
- O that Thou would’st the heavens rend And comfort, &c. Peace desired. No. 149, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines. The first line is from C. Wesley; also stanzas ii., 1. 4, but the rest of the hymn is original.
- O Who is this that on a tree. Good Friday. No. 79, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines.
- Oft as we run the weary way. Heavenly Witnesses of the struggles of Men. No. 188, in 6 stanzas of 6 lines.
- Still the night, holy the night. Christmas Carol. No. 55, in 3 stanzas of 8 lines. It is a translation from the German, and is noticed under Mohr, Joseph.
- Through the starry midnight dim. Christmas. No. 53, in 6 stanzas of 3 lines, and the refrain “Hallelujah.”
- When the Lord of Love was here. Life of Christ. No. 66, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. It has passed into The Norwood Hymnal; and with the omission of st. vi. and the transposition of st. iv. and v. into Horder’s Congregational Hymns, 1884. This is his finest hymn.
In addition, Mr. Brooke has made extensive alterations in the text of the hymns which he has adopted from other writers, and has also inserted in many instances additional stanzas into well-known lyrics, and thereby brought them, to some extent, into harmony with his theological views. His own compositions are marked by great freshness of thought and tenderness of expression. [Rev. W. Garrett Horder]
— John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)