A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Heber, Reginald

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Heber, Reginald (1783-1826).—Poet, s. of the Rector of Malpas, a man of family and wealth, and half-brother of Richard H., the famous book-collector, was ed. at Oxf., where he gained the Newdigate prize for his poem, Palestine, and was elected in 1805 Fellow of All Souls. After travelling in Germany and Russia, he took orders in 1807, and became Rector of the family living of Hodnet. In 1822, after two refusals, he accepted the Bishopric of Calcutta, an office in which he showed great zeal and capacity. He d. of apoplexy in his bath at Trichinopoly in 1826. In addition to Palestine he wrote Europe, a poem having reference specially to the Peninsular War, and left various fragments, including an Oriental romance based on the story of Bluebeard. H.'s reputation now rests mainly on his hymns, of which several, e.g., From Greenland's Icy Mountains, Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning, and Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, are sung wherever the English language is known. He also wrote a Life of Jeremy Taylor (1822). H. was a scholar and wit as well as a devoted Christian and Churchman.