“George Hinsdale, composer of psalm tune “Hinsdale,” died while his daughter was very young. With an additional loss of her mother, Phoebe was orphaned at age two. She “fell into the hands of a relative who kept the county jail,” and, through the brutish and bitter fare, the young maiden’s spirit was severely crushed. A “timid, shrinking” woman for all her days, the trials of life often overwhelmed her soul. In August of 1818, while caring for her small family and an ailing sister, she would oft find a place at sunset to draw apart and commune with her Master. One such hiding place was a nearby estate with a beautiful garden of flowers. When discovered in the garden, the mistress of the place rebuked the meek Phoebe for her lack of courage: “If you want anything, why don’t you come in?” The retort struck the lady deeply and so she the next evening, penning through tears “An Apology for my Twilight Rambles.”
Though impact on the neighbour is unknown, the impact upon hymnody was profound. Dr. Charles Hyde discovered the lines while compiling Village Hymns, to which he included it. The humble woman’s sorrow has blossomed into a most appealing flower of song.”
Though at times we may feel of little use to the Master, he who wept at the grave of Lazarus sees beyond our cares and fears. May the testimony of this wounded and anxious saint encourage your heart, that scars of life in the surrendered heart provide a foundation upon which Christ may be magnified.
I love to steal awhile away
From ev’ry cumb’ring care,
And spend the hours of setting day
In humble, grateful prayer.
I love in solitude to shed
The penitential tear,
And all his promises to plead,
Where none but God can hear.
I love to think on mercies past,
And future good implore,
And all my cares and sorrows cast
On him whom I adore.
I love by faith to take a view
Of brighter scenes in heav’n;
The prospect doth my strength renew
While here by tempests driv’n.
Thus, when life’s toilsome day is o’er,
May its departing ray
Be calm as this impressive hour,
And lead to endless day.
This historical account is taken from the Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs hymnal, copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
Melody Publications’ focus is to reawaken the melody of truth in believers' hearts and minds at home and abroad. Our prayer is that our work would aid churches and families as they sing "Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs" in praise and worship to our God.