How Doth the Little Busy Bee
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Isaac Watts is called the father of English hymns, having written some 750 hymns in his lifetime. The Christmas carol, “Joy to the World,” is one example.
At his birth in 1674, his father was in prison for his Nonconformist religious views (the established Anglican Church of England called them Dissenters, we might call them Puritans). His father was freed and Isaac followed in his Nonconformists beliefs, gaining a Doctor of Divinity and becoming pastor of London’s Mark Lane Independent (Congregational) Chapel. His five-foot, pale, thin frame made his head seem over-sized. He courted poet Elizabeth Singer, but she rejected his proposal of marriage saying, “Though she loved the jewel, she could not admire the casket which contained it.”