William Chatterton Dix

14 June 1837–9 September 1898

William Chatterton Dix, in The Strand Magazine, vol. 9 (May 1895), p. 588.

AMONG ENGLISH LAYMEN of this generation there are none whose contributions are so well known and so valuable as those of Mr. Chatterton Dix, who for more than thirty years has been a writer of sacred verse. “To Thee, Lord, our hearts we raise” has been termed “the best and most inspiring harvest carol in our language”; and the late Lord Selborne, in a paper on “English Church Hymnody,” read at a Church Congress, quoted his Epiphany hymn “As with gladness men of old,” in evidence that “the most favourable hopes may be entertained of the future prospects of British Hymnody.” The tune to which it is usually sung, and which bears his name, is a German chorale. Mr. Dix writes us: “I dislike it, but now nothing will displace it. I did not christen it.” “Come unto me, ye weary” is worthy to rank with Bonar’s “I heard the voice of Jesus say,” and Neale’s “Art thou weary, art thou languid.”

by Duncan Campbell
Hymns and Hymn Makers (1898)

THE REVIVAL and spread of Ritualism in the Church of England have given birth and currency to a mediaeval style of modern hymnology. Mr. Dix’s poetry is of this char­acter. He is the son of Mr. John R. Dix, of Bristol, Eng­land, where he was born, June 14, 1837. His father was a surgeon, and a man of letters, having, at various times, published, Lays of Home, Local Legends of Bristol, Progress of Intemperance, and a Life of Thomas Chat­terton, that juvenile prodigy of Bristol; he seems to have migrated to America, where he died several years since.

The son inherits his father’s passion for literature. But, though well educated at the grammar-school of Bristol, he gave himself to mercantile pursuits. About 1863, he re­moved to Glasgow, Scotland, and took a desirable position in a Marine Insurance Office. He has contributed hymns to several Collections: to St. Raphael’s Hymnal (1860); three hymns to Lyra Eucharistica (1863); twenty-one to Lyra Messianica (1865); and others to an Illustrated Book of Poems (1867). Several of his hymns are trans­lations from the Greek. One of his best is his Christmas Hymn, entitled, “The Manger Throne,” the first two stan­zas of which follow:

Like silver lamps in a distant shrine,
The stars are sparkling clear and bright;
The bells of the City of God ring out,
For the Son of Mary was born tonight;
The gloom is past, and the morn at last
Is coming with orient light.

Never fell melodies half so sweet,
As those which are filling the skies;
And never a palace shone half so fair,
As the manger-bed where our Saviour lies:
No night in the year is half so dear,
As this which has ended our sighs.

by Edwin Hatfield
The Poets of the Church (1884)

Featured Hymns:

As with gladness men of old
To Thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise
What child is this, who, laid to rest

Collections of Hymns and Poems:

Hymns of Love and Joy (1859): PDF

Four Joyful Hymns for Christmas-Tide (1865): PDF

Altar Songs: Verses on the Holy Eucharist

1st edition (1867): WorldCat
2nd edition (1868): PDF
3rd edition (1876): WorldCat

Hymns and Carols for Children (1869): PDF

Christmas Customs & Christmas Carols (1870): WorldCat

A Vision of All Saints, and Other Poems (1871): PDF

Seekers of a City, and Other Verses (1878): WorldCat

The Pattern of Life (1885): Archive.org

The Holy Childhood (1890): WorldCat

A Christmas Carol (1890): WorldCat

My Lady Poverty and Other Verses (1891): WorldCat

Some Friends of Ours (1891): WorldCat

Hymns for Sunday School Festivals (1897): WorldCat

Days of First Love (1900): WorldCat

see also:

Hymns for the Services of the Church and for Private Devotion [“St. Raphael’s Hymnal”] (1860, enl. 1864): PDF

Hymns Ancient & Modern

1st ed. (1861): PDF
Annotated by Louis Biggs (1867): PDF
with Appendix (1868): PDF
2nd ed. (1875): PDF
with Supplement (1889): PDF
Historical Companion (1889): PDF

Lyra Eucharistica, ed. Orby Shipley, 1st ed. (1863): PDF / 2nd ed. (1864): PDF

Lyra Messianica, ed. Orby Shipley (1864): Archive.org

The People’s Hymnal, ed. R.F. Littledale (1867): WorldCat

New Appendix to Hymns for Public Worship (SPCK, 1869): WorldCat

Christmas Carols New and Old, ed. John Stainer

1st series (Nos. 1-20, pp. 1-45, 1868): PDF
2nd series (Nos. 21-42, pp. 46-91, 1870): WorldCat
1st & 2nd series, illustrated (Nos. 1-42, 91 pp., 1871): PDF
3rd series (Nos. 43-70, pp. 92-180, 1878): WorldCat
Complete ed. (Nos. 1-70, 1879): PDF

Church Hymns (SPCK, 1871): WorldCat

Hymns for Use During 1897, Being the Sixtieth Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria (1897): WorldCat

Related Resources:

Edwin Hatfield, The Poets of the Church (NY: Anson Randolph, 1884), pp. 195-196: Archive.org

John Julian, “William Chatterton Dix,” A Dictionary of Hymnology (London, 1892), pp. 302-303: Google Books

Duncan Campbell, “William Chatterton Dix,” Hymns and Hymn Makers (London: A.C. Black, 1898), p. 152: Archive.org

Gordon Giles, “William Chatterton Dix,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

Sheila Doyle, “William Chatterton Dix,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

William Chatterton Dix, Hymns and Carols of Christmas:

W. Chatterton Dix at Hymnary.org: