Isaac Williams

1802-1865. Welsh Tractarian* poet and theologian. Born at Cymcynfelyn near Aberystwyth and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Oxford, he was deeply influenced by John and Thomas Keble and by Richard Hurrell Froude. Ordained in 1829, he was tutor and dean of Trinity by 1833, and curate to J.H. Newman* at St. Mary's. He contributed verses to the Lyra Apostolica (1836) and wrote many other poems, including “The Cathedral” (1838) and “The Baptistery” (1842), and produced many translations of hymns from Greek and Latin, of which the best known is “Disposer Supreme.” He was generally recognized to be the natural successor to John Keble* for the professorship of poetry at Oxford in 1841/2, but his Tract 80 on Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge aroused great alarm and antagonism in the Anglican Church and cost him the chair. He spent the rest of his life in semi-retirement, writing hymns, poetry, sermons, and devotional works.