Harriet Auber

4 August 1773–20 January 1862

THE REV. H. AUBER HARVEY, rector of Tring, whose father edited the work by which Miss Auber is known, has kindly supplied the following particulars of the life and writings of his talented relative. Her work is entitled The Spirit of the Psalms, or a Compressed Version of Select Portions of the Psalms of David (London, 1829). Owing to the similarity of title that work is liable to be confounded with The Spirit of the Psalms (1834), by the Rev. H.F. Lyte, M.A. The latter author required this title as exactly expressive of the nature of his work, and was probably unaware that it had been already appropriated. Miss Auber's work is not entirely original, it contains some pieces by other authors whose names are given, and some well-known hymns without names, such as Bishop Heber’s for Easter-day, page 146. All the rest are her own. Her work was published anonymously in 1829, in her fifty-sixth year.

She was born on October 4, 1773, and died in her eighty-ninth year, January 20, 1862. She wrote a great deal of poetry both before and after the publication of her work, but it has never been seen by any but her own friends and relatives, never having been published; although it has been thought that amongst her MSS there is much of equal or even superior merit to the contents of The Spirit of the Psalms. She did not confine herself to devotional poetry, but often wrote, on various subjects, verses marked by their great beauty or clever playfulness.

Her life was a very quiet and secluded one. The greater part of it was spent at Broxbourne and Hoddesdon, Herts. In both these places the memory of her name and her sisters’ is still cherished with affection and veneration, as it is amongst all their surviving friends and relatives. She had a valued friend in the authoress of a beautiful tale, called Private Life, and of Lectures on the Parables, and of Lectures on the Miracles, Miss Mary Jane McKenzie, who lived with her during many of the latter years of her life. Miss Auber died at Hoddesdon, where she is buried beside her friend Miss McKenzie, whom she had survived a few years. They were “lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided.”

by Josiah Miller
Singers and Songs of the Church (1869)

Featured Hymns:

Bright was the guiding star that led
Our blest Redeemer, ere he breathed

Collections of Hymns:

The Spirit of the Psalms (1829): PDF

Related Resources:

Josiah Miller, Singers and Songs of the Church (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1869) pp. 353-354: Archive.org

Edwin Hatfield, “Harriet Auber,” Poets of the Church (NY: Anson D.F. Randolph & Co., 1884), pp. 23-25: Archive.org

Emma Raymond Pitman, Lady Hymn Writers (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1892), pp. 140-143: Archive.org

John Julian, “Harriet Auber,” A Dictionary of Hymnology (London, 1892; suppl., 1907), pp. 90-91, 921, 1551: Google Books

Charles Nutter & Wilbur F. Tillett, “Harriet Auber,” The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church (NY: Eaton & Mains, 1911), p. 388: Archive.org

J.R. Watson, “Harriet Auber,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

Harriet Auber, Hymnary.org: