1793-1870

July 23, 1793, Boston, Massachusetts.

April 4, 1870, Boston, Massachusetts.

Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington, Massachusetts.

portrait

Nathaniel was the son of Ebenezer Frothingham and Joanna Langdon. He graduated from Harvard in 1811, where he was for a while a tutor. From 1815 to 1850, he was pastor at the First Church in Boston. His son Octavius was a hymn writer like his father. Nathaniel’s works include:

BETHLEHEM AND GOLGOTHA

In Bethlehem He first arose,
From whom we draw our true life’s breath;
And Golgotha at last He chose,
Where his cross broke the power of death.
I wandered from the Western strand,
Through strange scenes of the Morning Land;
But naught so great did I survey
As Bethlehem and Golgotha.

The ancient wonders of the world
Here rose aloft,—the mighty Seven;—
How was their transient glory hurled
To earth before the might of Heaven!
In passing, I could see and tell
How all their pride to ruin fell;
There stood in quiet Gloria
But Bethlehem and Golgotha.

Cease, Pyramids of Egypt, cease!
The toil that built you never gave
The faintest thought of Death’s great peace,—
’Twas but the darkness of a grave.
Ye Sphinxes, in colossal stone!
The riddle Life an unread one
Ye left;—the answer found its way
Through Bethlehem and Golgotha.

O Rocknabad, earth’s Paradise,
Of all Shiraz the sweetest flower!
Ye Indian sea-coasts, breathing spice,
Where groves of palms in beauty tower;—
I see o’er all your sunny plains
The step of Death leave stable stains.
Look up! There comes a deathless ray
From Bethlehem and Golgotha.

Thou Cāāba! black stone of the waste,
At which the feet of half our line
Yet stumble. Stand, now, proudly braced
Beneath thy crescent’s waning shine!
The moon before the sun grows dim;—
Thou art shattered by the sign of Him,
The conquering Prince. Victoria!
Shout Bethlehem and Golgotha.

O Thou, who in a shepherd-stable
An infant willingly hast lain,
And through the cross’s pain wert able
To give the victory over pain!
To pride the manger seems disgrace;
The cross a vile, unworthy place;—
But what shall bring this pride down? Say!
’Tis Bethlehem and Golgotha.

The Magi kings went forth to see
The Shepherd Stock, the Paschal Lamb;
And to the cross on Calvary
The pilgrimage of nations came.
Amidst the battle’s stormy toss,
All flew to splinters—but the Cross;
As East and West encamping lay
Round Bethlehem and Golgotha.

O, march we not in martial band,
But with the Spirit’s flag unfurled!
Let us subdue the Holy Land
As Christ himself subdued the world.
Let beams of light on every side
Fly, like Apostles, far and wide,
Till all men catch the beams that play
O’er Bethlehem and Golgotha.

With pilgrim staff and scallop-shell
Through Eastern climes I sought to roam;
This counsel have I found to tell,
Brought from my travels to my home:—
With staff and scallop do not crave
To see Christ’s cradle and his grave.
Turn inward! there in clearest day
View Bethlehem and Golgotha.

O heart! what helps it, that the knee
Upon His natal spot is bended?
What helps it, reverently to see
The grave from which He soon ascended?
Let Him within thee find his birth;
And do thou die to things of earth,
And live Him;—let this be for aye
Thy Bethlehem and Golgotha.

Nathaniel Frothingham, Metrical Pieces, 1855

  1. Cast Thy Bread upon the Waters
  2. Eternal Lord! To Thee the Church
  3. Farewell, Ye Walls
  4. Grand Sabbatic Year, The
  5. Hands of Twice a Hundred Years, The
  6. Journey Is Too Great for Thee, The
  7. Lord Gave the Word, The
  8. O Father, Whose Immortal Word
  9. O God, to Thine All Seeing Ken
  10. O God, Whose Presence Glows in All
  11. O Lord of Life, and Truth, and Grace
  12. O Savior! Whose Immortal Word
  13. One God, the Father, Own
  14. Our Christ Hath Reached His Heavenly Seat
  15. Patriarch’s Dove, on Weary Wing, The
  16. Remember Me, the Savior Said
  17. Son of God Gave Thanks, The
  18. There Are They Who Have Left Their Sweet Home
  19. They Passed Away from Sight and Hand
  20. Thine, Lord, These Heavens on High
  21. Thy Way Is Unbounded Space
  22. Up, Ye Christians, Join in Singing
  23. Wail from Beyond the Desert, A
  24. We Hear the Heavenly Voice
  25. We Meditate the Day
  26. Whate’er God Wills, Let That Be Done
  27. When I Am Weak, I’m Strong
  1. Up, Up, My Heart, with Gladness