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Updated 05/30/2013


Happy the Home When God Is There

Henry Ware, Jr.

Hen­ry Ware, Jr. (1794-1843) wrote the lyrics to “Happy the Home When God Is There” which was pub­lished post­hu­mous­ly in Se­lect­ion of Hymns and Po­et­ry for Use of In­fants and Ju­ve­nile Schools and Fam­i­lies, third edi­tion, 1846.

Son of a Un­i­tar­i­an min­is­ter, Ware at­tend­ed Har­vard and be­came an as­sist­ant teach­er at Ex­e­ter Acad­e­my in New Hamp­shire. In 1815, the Bos­ton Un­i­tar­i­an As­so­ci­a­tion li­censed him to preach, and in 1817, he was or­dained and be­came pas­tor of the Se­cond Church in Bos­ton, Mass­a­chu­setts. He was Pro­fess­or of Pul­pit El­o­quence and Pas­tor­al Care at the Har­vard Div­in­i­ty School, 1829-1842. He al­so ed­it­ed the Christ­ian Di­sci­ple (later re­named the Christ­ian Ex­amin­er), and ran the So­ci­e­ty for Re­li­gious Im­prove­ment at Har­vard Un­i­ver­si­ty (his fa­ther was on the fa­cul­ty there, as well). A two vol­ume Mem­oir and a four vol­ume Works were pub­lished three years af­ter his death.

The words are set to the tune St. Agnes, by John B. Dykes first published in Hymn­al for Use in the Eng­lish Church, by John Grey, 1866.

John B. Dykes

John Bacchus Dykes (10 March 1823 Kingston upon Hull – 22 January 1876 Ticehurst, Sussex) was an English clergyman and hymnist.

He was born in Hull, England, and by age 10 was the assistant organist at St. John's Church, Hull, where his grandfather was vicar. He studied at Wakefield and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, earning a B.A. in Classics in 1847.He cofounded the Cambridge University Musical Society. He was ordained as curate of Malton in 1847. For a short time, he was canon of Durham Cathedral, then precentor (1849 – 1862). In 1862 he became vicar of St. Oswald's, Durham until his death in 1876.

He published sermons and articles on religion but is best known for over 300 hymn tunes he composed. Amongst those which are still in wide use may be mentioned: Nicaea, commonly sung to the words "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!"; Wir Pflügen, harmonised by Dykes and commonly sung to the words "We plough the fields, and scatter" (a translation of the German hymn "Wir pflügen und wir streuen" by the late 18th century German poet Matthias Claudius); Melita, sung to the words "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" (sometimes known as "For those in Peril on the Sea" from its recurring last line); Gerontius, sung to the words "Praise to the Holiest in the Height" (taken from Cardinal Newman's poem The Dream of Gerontius); O Perfect Love; and Dominus Regit Me, sung to the words "The King of love my Shepherd is", one of the many metrical versions of Psalm 23.

Dykes died in Sussex at age 53, and is buried at St. Oswald’s, Durham.

Lyrics by Henry Ware

  Happy the home when God is there,
And love fills every breast;
When one their wish, and one their prayer,
And one their heav’nly rest.

Happy the home where Jesus’ Name
Is sweet to every ear;
Where children early speak His fame,
And parents hold Him dear.

Happy the home where prayer is heard,
And praise each day does rise;
Where parents love the sacred Word
And all its wisdom prize.

Lord, let us in our homes agree
This blessèd peace to gain;
Unite our hearts in love to Thee,
And love to all will reign.