Emily Taylor (17 April 1795, Banham, Norfolk – 11 March 1872, St Pancras, London) was an English poet, children's writer and hymn writer.
Life and work
Emily Taylor was the sister of Edgar Taylor, also a writer and translator. Her mother died shortly after she was born but she was brought up by her father, five brothers, one sister and two aunts. She became partly deaf at the age of seven after suffering from scarlet fever and could not attend formal schooling. However, when she moved with her father to nearby New Buckenham, she started a school for some 30 children, which laid emphasis on singing, partly because Taylor had become friendly with Sarah Ann Glover, a musical theorist who had developed the Norwich sol-fa system.
In 1825 she published The Vision of Las Casas, and Other Poems. The title poem, about a vision of the dying Bartolomé de las Casas, has an anti-slavery theme. Las Casas' vision ends with his being granted a prophetic glimpse of the abolitionist movement in Taylor's own time, with specific mentions of Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce.
Taylor moved up to London in 1842 to live with a widowed sister and continued to teach. Taylor wrote numerous historical tales, works of instruction for children, and popular biographies, including The Ball I Live On, or, Sketches of the Earth and Chronicles of an Old English Oak, or Sketches of English Life and History. She was also the writer of many hymns that remained popular through the 19th century, including 14 contributed anonymously to a Unitarian hymnal published in 1818. Works of hers appeared in the Monthly Repository among other publications. Originally a Unitarian, she joined the Church of England under the influence of English theologian Frederick Denison Maurice.