Lanier, Sidney, an American poet, was born at Macon, Ga., February 3, 1842. He was educated at Oglethorpe College, Ga., where he was graduated in 1860. He was a private in the Confederate army during the Civil War (1861-65); was captured in 1863, spending several months in a Federal prison, and his first published volume, titled Tiger Lilies, 1867, was founded on his experiences in prison. After the close of the war he was a clerk, a teacher, and a lawyer; but being by nature a musician and a poet, he found any calling but that of literature and music irksome to him. He was noted as a flute-player, and many of his best poems are enriched by his rare knowledge of music. In 1877 he was appointed lecturer on English Literature in Johns Hopkins University, and two of his most scholarly volumes contain lectures delivered there -- viz., The Science of English Verse, 1880, and The English Novel, 1883. His Poems were first published in 1876, and a complete edition after his death. After a hard struggle against the inroads of consumption, he died September 7, 1881, in Western North Carolina, where he had gone in search of health. Many of his finest poems were written when he was almost too weak to guide his pen. He is regarded as the greatest of Southern poets. The latest and best life of Lanier is that of Prof. Edwin Mims, and the best study of his poems for the distinctly Christian teaching they contain is found in a volume by President H. N. Snyder. Both Dr. Mims and Dr. Snyder were members of the Commission that prepared this Hymnal. Lanier was a lover of nature scarcely less than Wordsworth, and much of what he taught in song he learned in suffering. His love of nature and his deep devotion to Christ, the great sufferer, are beautifully brought out in the little gem here selected from his poems.
Into the woods my Master went 745