My next project will be the three books of Anne Steele. Many of her works are metric poetry in more-or-less standard meters, and I would definitely include those. And Volume 3 has sections of pure prose, which I propose to omit. But what about poetry with irregular meter? – by which I mean poems with lines that are metric, but not in repeating patterns, usually also with different number of lines per stanza (reminiscent of much of Isaac Watts' Horae Lyricae). Many of them are worth remembering, and parts of them could be rearranged into metric hymns. An example:
3. The Sickly Mind. [Irreg.]
Where are the happy moments fled?
Where are the joys that once were mine?
When meditation kindly spread
The sweet repast,
And bade me taste
Of mental food, varieties divine?
Reflection thus enquiring sighs,
But hope with cheerful air replies,
Again those happy moments may be thine:
Meditation ever kind,
Still invites the longing mind;
And see! she spreads her banquet full in view,
Such food the sons of luxury never knew.
Alas! in vain, my heart replies,
In vain her rich varieties!
A languid, a distempered taste invite!
Gentle hope, thy friendly power
Soothes in vain the mournful hour.
Till thy fair sister come and bless my sights
She can point a sovereign cure
For disorders of the mind,
Health, vigour, and delight she can ensure
From that blest hand which healed the lame and blind.
Come radiant faith, and guide my way!
Hope, on thy kind arm I stay,
Lead, O lead me to my Lord!
If he pronounce the healing word,
This mental languor shall depart.
And health and vigour animate my heart,
Alas! my guide — how dim her eye!
How feeble my supporter's arm!
But he can purge the mist away,
And clear the intellectual ray;
His vital word this fainting heart can warm,
And bid my hope be strong, and teach my faith to fly,
Great Physician, gracious Lord,
Speak the life-restoring word,
My drooping powers renew!
Meditation then shall spread,
Not in vain, the various feast,
All her sweets the mind shall taste,
While still new dainties rise to view;
(With dainties such as hers are angels fed)
Nor can the sacred banquet ever cloy,
Unlike to sensual food, akin to heavenly joy.
Do I include such things? Perhaps some of these have already been rearranged and appear in Hymnary.
Also there is poetry that I would classify as marginally Christian, usually invoking Greek gods or goddesses, that I find inappropriate for Christian worship, at least, and dangerous at worst – do I include those? Or put it all in and let the user sort it out?
Or perhaps such works would be better un CCEL, when they come back on line again?