1716–1778

May 1716, Brough­ton, Hamp­shire, Eng­land.

No­vem­ber 11, 1778, Brough­ton, Hamp­shire, Eng­land.

Saint Ma­ry’s church­yard, Brough­ton, Hamp­shire, Eng­land.

Anne was the daugh­ter of Will­iam Steele, a tim­ber mer­chant who was al­so a lay preach­er at the Bap­tist church in Brough­ton. She lost her mo­ther at age 3.

At age 19, a se­vere hip in­ju­ry made her a life­long in­va­lid. At age 21, her fi­an­cé drowned the day be­fore they were to be mar­ried.

From this series of tra­ge­dies rose 144 hymns and 34 ver­si­fied Psalms, which were enor­mous­ly pop­u­lar. Her main work was Po­ems on Sub­jects Chief­ly De­vo­tion­al (1760). When Tri­ni­ty Church in Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts (where Phil­lips Brooks was lat­er rec­tor) pub­lished its hym­nal in 1808, 59 of its 144 hymns were from the pen of Anne Steele.

She pre­ferred to re­main anon­y­mous, though, writ­ing un­der a pen name. Her tom­bstone car­ried these words:

Silent the lyre, and dumb the tuneful tongue,
That sung on earth her great Redeemer’s praise;
But now in Heaven she joins the angelic song,
In more harmonious, more exalted lays.

Desiring a Thankful Devotion to God

My great preserver, to Thy gracious hand
My life, my safety, and my all I owe;
New gratitude Thy favors still demand,
And still my numerous obligations grow.

Oft hast Thou listened to my humble prayer,
Oft, at my cry, unwearied mercy came:
O be Thy goodness, Thy indulgent care,
My constant refuge, my delightful theme!

When warmed with grateful love to Thee, my Lord,
My thoughts begin to count Thy favors o’er,
The boundless sum, what numbers can record?
How vain the attempt! Astonished I adore!

Yet I may love Thee, this is Thy command,
Thy kind command, O make me all Thy own!
My powers, my passions, Lord, are in Thy hand,
And Thou canst mold them for Thy use alone.

This worthless heart, to Thee I would resign,
Poor as it is, Thy sovereign hand can raise
A monument to Thee, enrich, refine,
And there inscribe Thy mercies and Thy praise.

Thy wondrous praise, not all creation’s tongues
In one harmonious concert, can display;
Not the celestial choir’s enraptured songs,
Through vast eternity’s unbounded day.

And shall a reptile of the dust aspire
To join with angels in their high employ?
Lord, at Thy feet, I lay my trembling lyre
In silent awe, yet mixed with humble joy.

Yet, if Thou bid me try the heavenly theme,
And bless me with Thy smile, my lyre again
On every string shall sound Thy glorious name,
Thy smile shall animate the feeble strain!

If Thou accept, and aid my wish to praise,
Then shall my heart with glad devotion bring
(But ah, how mean Thy gift!) her sweetest lays
To Thee, my gracious God, my glorious King.

All I enjoy, and all I hope is Thine,
Unworthiness, alone, belongs to me;
Inspire me, O my God, with love divine,
And make my life a hymn of praise to Thee.

Anne Steele
Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional, 1760

  1. Ah! Wretch­ed, Vile, Un­grate­ful Heart
  2. Ah, Wretch­ed Souls Who Strive in Vain
  3. Alas, What Hour­ly Dan­gers Rise!
  4. Almighty Au­thor of My Frame
  5. Almighty Fa­ther, Grac­ious Lord
  6. Amazing Love That Stooped So Low
  7. And Did the Ho­ly and the Just
  8. And Is the Gos­pel Peace and Love?
  9. And Will the Lord Thus Con­des­cend?
  10. Another Day Is Past
  11. Awake, Awake the Sac­red Song
  12. Awake, My Soul, nor Slum­ber­ing Lie
    • That Aw­ful Hour Will Soon Ap­pear
  13. Bright Scenes of Bliss, Un­cloud­ed Skies
  14. Come, Heav’n­ly Love, In­spire My Song
    • Come, Heaven­ly Dove, In­spire My Song
    • Come, Ho­ly Ghost, In­spire Our Song
    • Come, Ho­ly Spir­it, Guide My Song
    • Savior! O What End­less Charms, The
  15. Come, Let Our Souls Adore the Lord
  16. Come, Lord, and Warm Each Lan­guid Heart
  17. Come, Thou De­sire of All Thy Saints
  18. Come, Tune Ye Saints, Your No­blest Strains
  19. Come, Wea­ry Souls with Sin Dis­tressed
  20. Come Ye That Love the Sav­ior’s Name
  21. Dear Ce­nter of My Best De­sires
  22. Dear Lord, and Shall Thy Spir­it Rest?
  23. Dear Re­fuge of My Weary Soul
  24. Death! ’Tis a Name with Ter­ror Fraught
  25. Deep Are the Wounds Which Sin Has Made
  26. Enslaved by Sin, and Bound in Chains
  27. Eternal Pow­er, Al­migh­ty God
  28. Eternal Source of Joys Di­vine
  29. Faith Leads to Joys Be­yond the Sky
  30. Far from These Nar­row Scenes of Night
  31. Father of Mer­cies, in Thy Word
  32. God Is My Sun, His Bliss­ful Rays
  33. God of My Sal­va­tion Lives, The
  34. Gospel, O What End­less Charms, The
  35. Great God, to Thee My Ev­en­ing Song
  36. Great King of Kings, Eter­nal God
  37. Great Rul­er of the Earth and Skies
  38. Great Source of Bound­less Pow­er and Grace
  39. Happy the Soul, Whose Wish­es Climb
  40. He Lives, the Great Re­deem­er Lives
  41. Hear, Gra­cious Lord, My Hum­ble Moan
  42. Hear, O My God, with Pi­ty Hear
  43. Hence, Vain, In­trud­ing World, De­part
  44. How Blest Are Those, How Tru­ly Wise
  45. How Far Be­yond Our Mor­tal View
  46. How Help­less Guil­ty Na­ture Lies
  47. How Long Shall Earth’s Al­lur­ing Toys
    • O Could Our Thoughts and Wish­es Fly
  48. How Love­ly, How Di­vine­ly Sweet
  49. How Oft, Alas!
  50. In Vain I Trace Cre­a­tion O’er
  51. In Vain My Rov­ing Thoughts Would Find
  52. In Vain the Er­ring World In­quires
  53. In Vain The World’s Al­lur­ing Smile
  54. Jesus, and Didst Thou Leave the Sky?
  55. Jesus De­mands This Heart of Mine
  56. Jesus, in Thy Trans­port­ing Name
  57. Jesus, the Spring of Joys Di­vine
  58. Jesus, Thou Source Di­vine
  59. Life Is a Jour­ney, Heav’n My Home
  60. Life Is a Span, a Fleet­ing Hour
    • Once Loved Form, Now Cold and Dead, The
  61. Long Has Di­vine Com­pas­sion Strove
  62. Look Up, My Soul, with Cheer­ful Eye
  63. Lord For­gets His Wont­ed Grace, The
  64. Lord, How Mys­ter­i­ous Are Thy Ways
  65. Lord, in the Tem­ple of Thy Grace
  66. Lord, in Thy Great, Thy Glor­ious Name
  67. Lord, My Shep­herd and My Guide, The
  68. Lord of My Life, O May Thy Praise
  69. Lord of the Earth, and Seas, and Skies
  70. Lord, the God of Glo­ry Reigns, The
  71. Lord, Thou Hast Been Thy Child­ren’s God
  72. Lord, We Adore Thy Bound­less Grace
  73. Lord, When My Rap­tured Thought Sur­veys
  74. Lord, When My Thoughts De­light­ed Rove
  75. Mind Was Formed to Mount Sub­lime, The
  76. My God, My Father, Bliss­ful Name!
  77. My God, My Hope, if Thou Art Mine
  78. My God, O Could I Make the Claim
  79. My God, ’Tis to Thy Mer­cy Seat
  80. My God, to Thee I Call
  81. My God, Whene’er My Long­ing Heart
  82. My God, the Vi­sits of Thy Face
  83. My Mak­er and My King
  84. My Soul, to God, Its Source, As­pires
  85. Now Let Us Raise Our Cheer­ful Strains
  86. O Could Our Thoughts and Wish­es Fly
  87. O Could We Read Our In­ter­est There
  88. O Dearer to My Thank­ful Heart
    • See, Lord, Thy Will­ing Sub­jects Bow
  89. O for a Sweet, In­spir­ing Ray
  90. O for the Eye of Faith Di­vine
  91. O Hap­pi­ness, Thou Pleas­ing Dream
  92. O Je­sus, Our Ex­alt­ed Head
  93. Oh Thou Whose Ten­der Mer­cy Hears
  94. O World of Bliss, Could Mor­tal Eyes
  95. O’erwhelmed with Rest­less Griefs and Fears
  96. Oft Have I Said, with In­ward Sighs
  97. Once Loved Form Now Cold and Dead, The
  98. Pains That Wait Our Fleet­ing Breath, The
  99. Peace, My Com­plain­ing, Doubt­ing Heart
  100. Permit Me, Lord, to Seek Thy Face
  101. Praise Ye the Lord, Let Praise Em­ploy
  102. Promised Land, The
  103. Recall, My Heart, That Dread­ful Hour
  104. Sad Pri­son­ers in a House of Clay
  105. Savior Calls, The
  106. Savior! O What End­less Charms, The
  107. See, Gra­cious God, Be­fore Thy Throne
  108. See, Lord, Thy Will­ing Sub­jects Bow
  109. Should Fam­ine o’er the Mourn­ing Field
  110. Should Na­ture’s Charms, to Please the Eye
  111. So Fades the Love­ly, Bloom­ing Flow­er
  112. Stern Win­ter Throws His Icy Chains
  113. Stretched on the Cross, the Sav­ior Dies
  114. Sure I Must Love the Sav­ior’s Name
  115. Sure, the Blest Com­fort­er Is Nigh
  116. Thee, Dear­est Lord, My Soul Adores
  117. There Is a Glor­ious World on High
  118. There Is a God
  119. Thou Love­ly Source of True De­light
  120. Thou On­ly Sov­er­eign of My Heart
  121. Thy Gra­cious Pre­sence, O My God
  122. Thy King­dom, Lord, For­ev­er Stands
  123. To Je­sus, Our Ex­alt­ed Lord
  124. To Je­sus, Our Vic­tor­i­ous Lord
  125. To Our Re­deem­er’s Glor­ious Name
  126. To Your Cre­at­or, God
  127. Triumphant, Christ As­cends on High
  128. Vain World, Be Gone, nor Vex My Heart
  129. Was It for Sin?
  130. Weary Tra­vel­er, Lost in Night, The
  131. When Blest with That Trans­port­ing View
  132. When Bloom­ing Youth Is Snatched Away
  133. When Death Ap­pears Be­fore My Sight
  134. When Fancy Spreads Her Bold­est Wings
  135. When Faint­ing in the Sul­try Waste
  136. When Filled with Grief, My Anx­ious Heart
  137. When Gloomy Thoughts and Fears
  138. When I Re­solved to Watch My Thoughts
  139. When I Su­rvey Life’s Var­ied Scene
  140. When Sin and Sor­row, Fear and Pain
  141. When Sins and Fears Pre­vail­ing Rise
  142. When Wea­ry Souls with Sin Dis­tressed
  143. Whene’er the Ang­ry Pas­sions Rise
  144. Where Is God? Does He Re­tire?
  145. While Jus­tice Waves Her Venge­ful Hand
  146. While My Re­deem­er’s Near
  147. While to the Grave Our Friends Are Borne
  148. Why Should My Spirit Cleave to Earth?
  149. Why Sinks My Weak De­spond­ing Mind?
  150. Wondering Na­tions Have Be­held, The
  151. Ye Earthly Van­i­ties, De­part
  152. Ye Gay De­ceiv­ers of the Mind
  153. Ye Glit­te­ring Toys of Earth, Adieu
  154. Ye Hum­ble Souls, Ap­proach Your God
  155. Ye Mourn­ing Sin­ners, Here Dis­close
  156. Ye Wretch­ed, Hun­gry, Starv­ing Poor

where to get Steele’s pic­ture