Born: November 6, 1804, Summer Hill (near Birmingham), Warwickshire, England.
Died: April 6, 1889, Torquay, Devon, England.
Buried: Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge, England.
Benjamin was the son of Rann Kennedy, sometime incumbent of St. Paul’s Church in Birmingham and editor of A Church of England Psalm-Book (1821).
He was educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham; Shrewsbury School; and St. John’s College, Cambridge (BA, 1827, First Medalist).
He was Fellow of his College (1828–36); Headmaster of Shrewsbury School (1836–66); and Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Cambridge and Canon of Ely, 1867.
He took Holy Orders in 1829, and was for some time prebendary in Lichfield Cathedral and rector of West Felton, Shropshire. He was elected Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1880.
Kennedy versified many of the psalms, and wrote and translated numerous other hymns, as well.
Awake, again the Gospel trump is blown;
From year to year it swells with louder tone;
From year to year the signs of wrath
Are gathering round the Judge’s path:
Strange words fulfilled, and mighty works achieved,
And truth in all the world
Both hated and believed.
Behold, the world is thronging round to gaze
On the dread vision of the latter days,
Constrained to own Thee, but in heart
Prepared to take Barabbas’ part;
Hosanna now, tomorrow
The changeful burden still
Of their rude lawless cry.
The bad and good their several warnings give
Of HIs approach, whom none may see and live:
Faith’s ear, with awful still delight,
Counts them like minute-bells at night,
Keeping the heart awake till dawn of morn,
While to the funeral pile
This agèd world is borne.
But what are heaven’s alarms to hearts that cower
In willful slumber, deepening every hour,
That draw their curtains closer round
The nearer swells the trumpet’s sound?
Lord, ere out trembling lamps sink down and die,
Touch us with chastening hand,
And make us feel Thee nigh.
Benjamin Hall Kennedy
Hymnologia Christiana, 1863