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And didst thou love the race that loved not thee

And didst thou love the race that loved not thee? Jean Ingelow* (1820-1897). From Ingelow’s Poems (1863). The hymn is an extract of five consecutive stanzas (72-76) of Part II of a long poem of 83 stanzas entitled ‘Honours’. In it a scholar muses on his lack of academic success: he is full of doubt about the meaning of life, but finds the answer in the Incarnation. Filled with new hope, he offers up this prayer: And didst thou love the race that loved not Thee?  And didst Thou take to heaven a human brow?Dost plead with man’s voice by the marvellous sea?  Art thou his kinsman now? Stanzas 75 and 76 of the poem (4 and 5 of the hymn) are particularly prayerful: By Thy last sentence in the...

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