The New Version

Nicholas Brady

28 October 1659—20 May 1726

Nahum Tate

1652—30 July 1715

NICHOLAS BRADY, an English divine, was born at Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, October 28, 1659; was educated at Westminster, Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin. He was a Prebendary of Cork, Ireland. In 1702-05 he was incumbent at Stratford-on-Avon. Later, while incumbent at Richmond, he taught school in addition to his ministerial work. He died May 20, 1726. He published two volumes of poetry, one being a translation of Virgil’s Æneid. His association with Nahum Tate in making a New Version of the Psalms of David, 1696, which long held a dominant place in the Church of England, has given him a permanent and honored place in the history of hymnology.

NAHUM TATE, the English poet, was the son of an Irish clergyman, and was born at Dublin in 1652. After his graduation at the University of Dublin he settled in London and entered upon a literary career. He soon won reputation as a poet, publishing successive volumes from time to time. In 1692 he became Poet Laureate. In 1696 he published, in connection with Rev. Nicholas Brady (1659–1726), Chaplain in Ordinary, a New Version of the Psalms of David Fitted to the Tunes Used in the Church. This version supplanted, by royal and episcopal authority, the “old version” by Sternhold, Hopkins, and others, and is to this day the authorized version of the Church of England found in the Prayer Book. It is not known which of the Psalms were translated by Brady and which by Tate; but as Tate was Poet Laureate, he is supposed to have done the greater part of the work. In addition to this joint work, he published several volumes of poetry. He died [July 30,] 1715.

by Charles Nutter & Wilbur Tillett
The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church (1911)

The undertakers at first proposed this pious design between themselves, but in a little time it was communicated, and as speedily received and nourished by persons of the highest rank, and principle authority in the nation, both in Church and in State. … Whereupon the late Queen of blessed and immortal memory [Mary II] was pleased to promise it her royal countenance. And the late Archbishop of Canterbury [John Tillotson], whose excellent endowments were so suitable to the dignity of his station, did freely acquaint the translators, that he was glad so useful a work was carrying on in his days. After the kingdom had sustained so considerable a loss by the death of those two eminent persons who were such ornaments to the nation, the present Archbishop [Thomas Tenison], who was chosen to succeed in the See of Canterbury, and acquits himself so well in that weighty charge which he has in the Church, was pleased to look favorably upon this religious design, and support that patronage which they had promised it. …

When the work was finished and had passed the censure of his grace the Archbishop, and several more of his brethren the Right Reverend Prelates, who vouchsafed to peruse it, and gave in their alterations and remarks, a petition was presented to His Majesty [William III] in council for allowing the liberty of a public reception of it in all churches, chapels, and congregations, which was accordingly granted.

A Brief and Full Account of Mr. Tate’s and Mr. Brady’s New Version of the Psalms (1698)

Featured Psalms:

Through all the changing scenes of life (Psalm 34)

Published Collections:

A New Version of the Psalms of David

Trial ed., Pss. 1-20 (1695): PDF
1st ed. (1696): PDF
2nd ed. corrected (M. Clark, 1698): PDF
[Revised ed.] (T. Hodgkin, 1698): PDF

Supplement, 3rd ed. (1702): PDF
Supplement, 4th ed. (1704): PDF
Supplement, 5th ed. (1704): PDF
Supplement, 6th ed. (1708): PDF

Related Resources:

A Brief and Full Account of Mr. Tate’s and Mr. Brady’s New Version of the Psalms (London: Joseph Wild, 1698): PDF

William Beveridge, A Defense of the Book of Psalms, Collected into English Metre, by Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins, and others. With critical observations on the late New Version with the Old (London: R. Smith, 1710): Google Books

Nahum Tate, An Essay for Promoting of Psalmody (1710): PDF

Henry Alexander Glass, The Story of the Psalters: A History of the Metrical Versions of Great Britain and America, from 1549 to 1885 (London: Kegan Paul, 1885):

John Julian, “The New Version,” A Dictionary of Hymnology (London, 1892), pp. 799-802.

Thomas Young, The Metrical Psalms and Paraphrases: A Short Sketch of Their History with Biographical Notes of Their Authors (London: A&C Black, 1909):

Herbert Francis Scott-Thomas, The Life and Works of Nahum Tate (Baltimore, 1934): WorldCat

Samuel Adler Golden, Nahum Tate (Dublin: Trinity College, 1954): WorldCat

Christopher Spencer, Nahum Tate (New York: Twayne, 1972): WorldCat

Robin A. Leaver, “The failure that succeeded: The New Version of Tate and Brady,” The Hymn, vol. 48, no. 4 (October 1997), pp. 22-31: HathiTrust

Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology: Nicholas Brady | Nahum Tate | New Version | Supplement

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Nicholas Brady | Nahum Tate Nicholas Brady | Nahum Tate

Hymn Tune Index: