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Wa tt s ’ Li f e a n d L egac y

to own personally the gospel of grace in Christ that had been taught in his home? Leaving his home in Southampton in 1690 to begin his studies at the dissenting academy near London was a tearful event. Watts deeply loved his parents and his siblings, and he expressed his sadness in a poetic epistle he later sent home: E’er since the morning of that day Which bid my dearest friends adieu, And rolling wheels bore me away Far from my native town and you, E’er since I lost through distant place, The pleasures of a parent’s face. . . .30 He continued, describing his letter as “Laden with humble love” and as a sort of long-distance kiss to them.31 Perhaps Watts was not unlike a young man today leaving to go off to college, his twinges of homesickness and longing for family shouted down by the anticipated adventure of independence and college life. Watts wrote briefly of this new stage in his life in his personal memoranda: “1690, left the grammar-school, and came to London to Mr. Rowe’s, to study philosophy.”32 Though the Anglican universities might have given him more grounding in mathematics and classics, Newington Academy, like other dissenting academies, tended to provide a more liberal, wide-ranging education, with greater emphasis on modern languages, history, and literature since the classics. But first 17

The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts  
The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts  

Read a sample chapter of Douglas Bond's The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts.