Hymns in Prose for Children was first published in 1781 – the edition shown here is from 1787 – and its popularity ensured that it was still in print right into the early part of the 20th century. The hymns were not intended to be sung in church, but were in prose, designed to be memorised and recited aloud. In the preface Barbauld explains her reasons for writing in this form. She believes that children should not be given poetry to read until they can appreciate it properly – ‘relish good verse’, as she puts it. Although acknowledging the qualities of Dr Isaac Watts’s celebrated Hymns for Children (1715), written in verse, Barbauld believes that her own prose versions will serve her ideals better. Her aim is to make an inextricable link in the reader’s mind between God and everyday things, particularly the natural world, so that child readers will see God all around them.