Thomas Kelly

1769-1854. Irish hymnwriter. Son of an Irish judge, he was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College there. He was originally intended for the law, but was converted in 1792 and took holy orders. He remained in the Church of Ireland only a short time, and for most of his life conducted a vigorous evangelical ministry in unconsecrated buildings in Dublin, Wexford, and elsewhere. As a hymnwriter his name is often linked with those of Watts and Newton. He is credited with 765 hymns in all, of which the best known are “Look, ye saints! the sight is glorious,” “The Head that once was crowned with thorns,” and “We sing the praise of Him who died.” Kelly excels in hymns of praise, handles difficult meters dexterously, and often succeeds in compressing the whole evangelical economy within the compass of a few verses.