1861. – God Bless The Year.

Lord, send a blessing down,
And with Thy mercy crown
The opening year;
To Thee, our Heavenly King,
Our new-born praise we bring,
And hearts and voices sing,
God bless the year.
May circling seasons be
Crowned with fertility
And beauty fair;
And Autumn’s golden grain
Wave o’er the fruitful plain,
With reaper’s gladsome strain,
God bless the land.
Let heart with heart agree;
Come, meek-eyed Charity,
Make us at one;
Saviour, our hearts incline,
Upon our households shine,
And seal our loved ones Thine!
God bless our homes.
Let war’s wild discord cease,
Give to all Europe peace,
By holy means;
The nations disenthrall,
And thrones of tyrants fall,
Send liberty to all;
God bless the world.
Soon may the gospel’s light
Dispel the heathen night
From Gentile shrines;
And Jew to Gentile cry,
“Glory to Christ Most High,”
And the whole world reply,
God bless His cause.
God help the needy poor,
Send to the labourer’s door
Bread and to spare:
Open thy bounteous hand,
And o’er this peopled land
Plenty and health command,
God bless the poor.
Upon Victoria’s throne
In graciousness look down,
Preserve our Queen;
Prolong her happy reign,
Her government sustain,
Her high estate maintain,
God save the Queen.

Title:1861. – God Bless The Year.

Author:Henry Dowson

Publication:The Bradford Observer

Published in:Bradford

Date:January 3rd 1861

Keywords:charity, poverty, religion, war


The work by the prolific Victorian poet Henry Dowson is poignant in that it is published at the beginning of the year which brought the American Civil War and the Cotton Famine (whose effects extended into West Yorkshire, where this was published), and yet it prayers for peace and prosperity were clearly not answered. There is a strongly religious tone to the poem and themes which were to become increasingly prevalent over the coming years are poverty and charity. Of course, war became a major theme too, but this poem pins its hope on European peace, unaware that American war would shortly have a deep effect on European economies and livelihoods. – SR