Born: February 12, 1776, Southampton, England.
Died: November 2, 1848, Ballymoney, County Antrim, Ireland.
Buried: St. James’ churchyard, Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland.
Mant was educated at Winchester and Trinity, Oxford (BA 1797, MA 1799). At Oxford, he won the Chancellor’s prize for an English essay. He was a Fellow of Oriel College, and for some time College Tutor.
After taking Holy Orders, he was successively curate to his father, then of one or two other places; vicar of Coggeshall, Essex (1810); Domestic Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury (1813); rector of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, London (1816), and East Horsley (1818); bishop of Killaloe (1820); of Down and Connor (1823); and of Dromore (1842). He was also Bampton Lecturer in 1811.
Mant is known chiefly through his translations from Latin. John Ellerton, in his Notes on Church Hymns, 1881, said:
Mant had little knowledge of hymns, and merely took those of the existing Roman Breviary as he found them; consequently he had to omit many, and so to alter others that they have in fact become different hymns; nor was he always happy in his manipulation of them. But his book has much good taste and devout feeling, and has fallen into undeserved neglect.
Begirt with many a cheerful guest,
Light hearts and faces gay,
Reclined at Cana’s nuptial feast,
Serene the Savior lay.
Its course the appointed hour has rolled
To stamp the unerring sign,
Which characters His earthly mould
With lineaments divine.
The ewers with water to the brim
Fill full, then fourth be poured
The goodly draught, and borne to him,
Chief of the festal board!
’Tis done: the ewers from mixture free
Receive the crystal stream:
mantling in the goblet see
liquid ruby gleam.
The will untold, the unuttered thought,
By nature heard, declare
Him who her works to being brought,
And formed them as they are:
Him at whose will the fountain wells,
The limpid current flows,
The grape to purple ripeness swells,
The generous vintage glows.
But marks of goodness, as of power,
The Savior’s presence tell.
He courted not the hermit’s bower,
The sad recluse’s cell;
The gifts, bestowed
man’s heart to cheer,
He thought not scorn to know;
Nor chilled, with gloomy brow austere,
The bosom’s kindly glow.
Mark Him, in this triumphal hour,
When glory round Him shone!
Those gifts ’twas His abroad to shower,
Those feelings kind to own;
With milder rays the act to blend
Which spoke the Godhead near,
The charities, which friend to friend,
And man to man, endear.
The pristine state in paradise,
That first, that best, decree,
For new-formed man, when all was bliss,
For all from sin was free;
That holy state Himself to grace,
And grant the wedded pair
The first effulgence of His face,
His first-fruit gifts to share—
On friends, and kindly kinsmen dear,
Guests at the genial hearth,
Kind boon to shed of social cheer,
Of festive harmless mirth—
Him too, the goodman of the place
Whose hospitable will
Grieved lest his store, that waned apace,
Should fail its part to fill;
To him his kindly aid to bring,
And bid from yonder row
Of vessels, brimming from the spring,
The ruddy beverage flow;
With such considerate care benign,
That not the ruler knew,
Whence, as he sipped the generous wine,
The rich supply he drew—
’Tis lovely all: with kindness fraught,
With kindness as with power!
Dwells on the scene the raptured thought;
And, in that festal hour,
Delights, amid His glory’s glaze,
The Prince of Peace to scan,
The Sun with healing in His rays,
Emmanuel, God with man.
Fair scene for doubting man to view,
Where faith a rest may find;
And charity the track pursue
Of gentle virtue kind!
Fair scene, and meet for God to see,
Grace by His only Son:
Deeds like His own in majesty,
In bounty like His own!
So when at infant nature’s birth
The Maker looked around,
And viewed His new-created earth
With life and plenty crowned;
With what was pleasant to the sight,
And what was sweet for food;
His work He pondered with delight,
For lo! it all was good.
The Gospel Miracles, 1832