Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Tamara Stasik


“Enchantment Dissolved” is a hymn written by John Newton and a part of the first publication of the Olney Hymns in 1779. However, starting around the year 1803, the hymn was misattributed in multiple publications to William Cowper, the second author of the collection. This article will analyze Cowper’s literary style and consider why the hymn may have been mistaken for his creation. This particular hymn also appears in a 17-18th century commonplace, Hannah Swynock 1687, in the Parker MSS. at the Lilly Rare Book Library at Indiana University. In this hand-written manuscript, the hymn has four additional verses that are not found in print. This article also analyzes those four verses in comparison to the original five to determine whether the author of the addition was mimicking the style and themes of “Enchantment Dissolved.” Commonplaces had many uses and sometimes multiple scribes or purposes, so it can be difficult to draw conclusions from one entry. However, theorizing about the source and purpose of this hymn and its addition in the context of the manuscript is important for understanding how the commonplace was used and by whom.