Philip James Bailey

Philip James Bailey

Philip James Bailey.

Philip James Bailey, (born April 22, 1816, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Eng.—died Sept. 6, 1902, Nottingham) English poet notable for his Festus (1839), a version of the Faust legend. Containing 50 scenes of blank-verse dialogue, about 22,000 lines in all, it was first published anonymously.

Bailey’s father, who himself published both prose and verse, owned and edited from 1845 to 1852 the Nottingham Mercury. The young Bailey received a local education until his 16th year, when he matriculated at the University of Glasgow. He did not, however, take his degree but moved in 1835 to London and entered Lincoln’s Inn. Without making serious practice of the law, he settled at Basford (in Nottingham) and for three years was occupied with the composition of Festus. He was associated with the Spasmodic school—poets whose aesthetic, based on Romantic ideas of association and intuition, rejected the restraint of literary form.


Hymn of Thanks

Through pain and through peril, temptation and harm,
We are saved by His love, for the Lord lent His arm;
By the sea’s bounding wave and the blue river’s rim,
As the morn grew up bright, or as eve came down dim,
By the cliff and the beach, and the mountain’s bleak brow,
We have knelt–for we felt–then, and ever, as now;
By the stones of the street–or the green valley’s sod,
Was the light of the Lord, and Thy glory, O God!

From the strength of the storm and the grasp of the sea,
And the lightning’s red wrath, Heaven ransomed are we;
From the arms of the forceful, the wiles of the base,
We have turned to Thee, Lord! and Thy comforting face;
In the courts of the Idols we thought on Thy power,
And shrank not, nor bowed in the terrible hour,–
Our life, and our all, at a savage’s nod,
But were saved to Thee, Lord! and Thy glory, O God!

By fountain and garden, and palace and grove,
Where the gay and the beautiful gather to rove;
Where the vine o’er the violet flourishes green
And the roses fill up the soft season between;
Where the temples are worthy of God to behold
And the altars are blazing with jewels and gold,
Wherever we travelled–or voyaged–or trod–
Was the light of the Lord, and Thy glory, O God!

read more