October 29, 2013

Birth of William Bingham Tappan

Described by one critic as "the most industrious and voluminous of our religious poets," William Bingham Tappan was born in Beverly, Massachusetts on October 29, 1794. It was said he began writing verse at age 9, moved to Philadelphia after reaching his majority, and published his first book in that city when he was 23. Following that, he became a teacher in New Jersey. He spent a few years in Cincinnati before returning to Massachusetts in 1837.

Many of Tappan's poems and hymns remain untitled or borrow from the first line. This, "Home of my youth," was published in a collection in 1822:

Home of my youth! with fond delight,
On thee doth recollection dwell;
Home of my youth! how gaily bright,
The scenes that childhood loved so well.

Cot of my fathers! well I know,
The spot that saw my infant dawn;
Near the green lane, the old elm row—
The village spire—the grassy lawn.

O! sweet to me the laughing hours,
When earth seemed gay, and heaven was fair;
When fancy culled her thornless flowers,
And pleasure reigned, unknown to care.

Home of my youth! this heart away,
Recals those moments dear to me;
Often in dreams will memory stray,
Home of my youth—to weep o'er thee.

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