|The Irish poet, novelist, historian and Anglican priest, George Croly, was rector of St Stephen Walbrook from 1835 until his death in 1860. Charlotte and Anne Brontë visited St Stephen’s Walbrook, on their first visit to London, hoping to hear Croly preach, as he was by then a famous author and cleric.|
The Irish poet, novelist, historian and Anglican priest, George Croly, was rector of St Stephen Walbrook from 1835 until his death in 1860. Croly’s writing ranged across theatre, poetry, reviews, politics and theology. From 1810 he had a career in London as a reviewer and journalist with The Times and Blackwood’s Magazine, among other. His best known works novels include Salathiel and Marston. His main contribution to theology was an exposition of the Apocalypse. His hymns included Spirit of God, descend upon my heart, written in 1854:
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart,
wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art,
and make me love thee as I ought to love.
Charlotte and Anne Brontë visited St Stephen’s Walbrook, on their first visit to London, hoping to hear Croly preach, as he was by then a famous author and cleric. Unfortunately, he was absent that Sunday. Croly was buried at St Stephen Walbrook and memorials to him, his wife, daughter and eldest son can found here.
The Genius of Death by George Croly
What is death? ‘Tis to be free,
No more to love or hope or fear,
To join the great equality;
All, all alike are humbled there.
The mighty grave
Wraps lord and slave;
Nor pride nor poverty dares come
Within that refuge-house,–the tomb.
Spirit with the drooping wing
And the ever-weeping eye,
Thou of all earth’s kings art king;
Empires at thy footstool lie;
Beneath thee strewed,
Sink like waves upon the shore;
Storms shall never raise them more.
What’s the grandeur of the earth
To the grandeur round thy throne?
Riches, glory, beauty, birth,
To thy kingdom all have gone.
Before thee stand
The wondrous band,–
Bards, heroes, sages, side by side,
Who darkened nations when they died.
Earth has hosts, but thou canst show
Many a million for her one;
Through thy gates the mortal flow
Hath for countless years rolled on.
Back from the tomb
No step has come,
There fixed till the last thunder’s sound
Shall bid thy prisoners be unbound.