« Adams John Coleman Adams, Sarah Flower Adams, Thomas »

Adams, Sarah Flower

ADAMS, SARAH (FULLER) FLOWER: English Unitarian; b. at Harlow (25 m. n.e. of London), Essex, Feb. 22, 1805; d. in London Aug. 14, 1848. Her father was Benjamin Flower (1755-1829), printer, editor, and political writer, and, Sept. 24, 1834, she married William Bridges Adams (1797-1872), an inventor and engineer of distinction, also a writer on political subjects. She was a highly gifted woman, much esteemed by a circle of friends which included, among others, W. J. Linton, Harriet Martineau, Leigh Hunt, and Robert Browning. Inherited deafness and a weak constitution prevented her from following the stage as a profession, which she had chosen in the belief that “the drama is an epitome of the mind and manners of mankind, and wise men in all ages have agreed to make it, what in truth it ought to be, a supplement to the pulpit.” She wrote poems on social and political subjects, chiefly for the Anti-Corn-Law League; contributed poems and articles to the Monthly Repository during the years 1832-53, when it was conducted by her pastor W. J. Fox, and published a long poem, The Royal Progress, in the Illuminated Magazine in 1845. In book form she published Vivia Perpetua, a Dramatic Poem (London, 1841; reprinted with her hymns and a memoir by Mrs. E. F. Bridell-Fox, 1893), and The Flock at the Fountain (1845), a catechism. In addition, she furnished fourteen original hymns and two translations to Hymns and Anthems (1840), a collection for Fox’s chapel at Finsbury, including her best-known production, Nearer, my God, to thee. Her sister, Eliza Flower (1803-46), possessed much musical talent and furnished the original music for this hymn as well as for others in the book.

Bibliography: DNB, i. 101; S. W. Duffield, English Hymns, pp 382-388, New York, 1886; Julian, Hymnology, p. 16; N. Smith, Hymns Historically Famous, pp. 174-182, Chicago, 1901.

« Adams John Coleman Adams, Sarah Flower Adams, Thomas »
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