HEBER, REGINALD (1783-1826), a distinguished prelate and hymn-writer, was born at Malpas in Cheshire in 1783. He early showed remarkable promise, and was entered in November 1800 at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he proved a distinguished student, carrying off prizes for a Latin poem entitled Carmen Seculare, an English poem on Palestine, and a prose essay on The Sense of Honour. In November 1804 he was elected a fellow of All Souls College; and, after finishing his distinguished university career, he made a long tour on the Continent. He was admitted to holy orders in 1807, and was then presented to the family living of Horinet in Shropshire. In 1809 Heber married Amelia, daughter of Dr Shipley, dean of St Asaph. He was appointed Bampton lecturer for 1815, prebendary of St Asaph in 1817, preacher at Lincoln's Inn in 1822, and bishop of Calcutta in January 1823. Before sailing for India lie received the degree of D.D. from the university of Oxford. In India Bishop Heber laboured indefutigably, not only for the good of his own diocese, but for the spread of Christianity throughout the East. Animated by apostolic zeal, he undertook numerous tours in India, consecrating churches, founding schools, and discharging other Christian duties. Such devotion to his work in a trying climate told severely on his health. At Trichinopoly he was seized with an apoplectic fit when in his bath, and expired. on 3d April 1826.
Heber was a man of profound learning, refined literary taste, and great practical energy.. His Christian character manifested all the beauty and simplicity of the days of the early church. As a poet he has attained a high place. His Palestine is generally considered the best prize poem ever written at Oxford. Heber's fame rests mainly on his hymns, which, as literary compositions, rank among the best in the English language. Those beginning as follows may be instanced : - " Lord of mercy and of might"; "Brightest and best of the sons of the morning"; " By cool Siloam's shady rill "; "God, that madest earth and heaven"; "The Lord of might from Sinai's brow "; "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty "; "From Green. land's icy mountains"; "The Lord will come, the earth originality, and are rather rhetorical than poetical in the strict sense.
Heber was a volmninous author, as may be seen from the following works : - Palestim ; a Poem, to which is added the Passage of the Red Sea, 1809 • Europe: Lines on the Present War, 1809; The Personality and 01fiee of the Christian Comforter asserted and explained, being the Bampton Lectures for 1815 ; The Whole Works of Bishop Jeremy Taylor, wits a Life of the Author, and a Critical Examination, of his Writings, 1822; Hymns written and adapted to the Weekly Ch-arch Service of the Year, principally by Bishop Heber, 1827 ; A Journey through, India, 1828 ; Sermons preached in England, and Sermons preached in India, 1829; Parish Sermons, 1837.
For further Information about Heber see his Life, by his widow, 1830, which also contains a number of Heber's miscellaneous writings; The Last Days of Bishop Heber, by Thomas Robinson, A.M., archdeacon of Madras, 1830; and Memorials of a Quiet Life, by Augustus J. C. Hare, 1S74.