04 October 2007

Where, Oh, Where Have These Gerhardt Hymns Gone?

I've mentioned previously that I am working (by way of the Gerhardt Hymn Project) to make available the hymns of Paul Gerhardt in English: for the sung confession of the faith in our own day, and for the consideration of the next Lutheran hymnal project that comes down the pike. Of Gerhardt's 130+ hymns, there are sixteen or so in the Lutheran Service Book, and twenty-something each in The Lutheran Hymnal and the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. C.F.W. Walther's Kirchengesanbuch and Johannes Grabau's Gesangbuch each included forty-something Gerhardt hymns (in German, of course), which is proximately the number of his hymns to be found in some modern German hymnals (like that of the SELK). Aside from other disappointments with the ELCA's new Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the fact that it includes only nine Gerhardt hymns (generally reduced to a handful of stanzas) is sad.

Anyway, there are a lot of Gerhardt hymns that have never been translated into English. Hopefully the Gerhardt Project can help to remedy that situation. In the meantime, there are some 90 of his hymns that have previously been translated into English, though many of these have never been published in a regular sort of hymnal. Most of those translations were done in the 19th century, and many of them have not aged well; some of them lacked poetic eloquence to begin with, and the passing decades have not improved that situation.

Well, in searching for what's already "out there," in the way of English translations of Gerhardt's hymns, I've discovered that a fair number of them have appeared in various Lutheran hymnals, here and there. Not all of these were published in the most felicitous translation, and granted that not everything Paul Gerhardt wrote was necessarily a lasting treasure (I would still favor Gerhardt on his worst day over Twila Paris and a good many others, but that's just me, I guess). Nevertheless, it does make me wonder why these hymns have eluded some of us.

Considering only those Gerhardt hymns that have appeared in English Lutheran hymnals, the following twenty-three are missing, either in whole or in part, from the Lutheran Service Book. I'm not making this observation as a criticism of the LSB, but simply for the sake of calling attention to these hymns, and to ask whether some or all of them ought to be restored. I should say that, in some cases, it was probably wise to limit the number of stanzas included in the LSB, especially because that is likely to encourage more congregations to use them at all. But maybe there is a place where these hymns might be published in their entirety, for selective and careful usage in the life of the Church. I believe so.

The following list does not cite all of the other hymnals in which these hymns appear, but indicates some of the more significant and readily available occurrences.


O Lord, How Shall I Meet You (LSB 334; 6 stanzas)
Wie soll ich dich empfangen? (10 stanzas)
ELHB 136 (10 st); TLH 58 (9 st.); ELH 94 (10 st); Ohio 18 (7 st.)


I Stand Beside Thy Manger Here
Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier (15 stanzas)
Australian 27 (4 st.); ELH 129 (5 st.); ALH 619 (3 st.)

We Sing, Immanuel, Thy Praise
Wir singen dir, Immanuel (20 stanzas)
ELHB 161 (20 st); TLH 108 (8 st.); Australian 28 (7 st.); ELH 152 (8 st.); ALH 331 (7 st.); Augustana 29 (5 st.)

Behold! Behold! What Wonders Here (Kelly)
Schaut, schaut, was ist für Wunder dar? (18 stanzas)
Ohio 25 (6 st.)

All My Heart Again Rejoices (LSB 360; 6 stanzas)
Fröhlich soll mein Herze springen (15 stanzas)
ELHB 145 (15 st); TLH 77 (15 st); ELH 115 (15 st); Ohio 27 (15 st)


Now Let Us Come Before Him
Nun laßt uns gehn und treten (15 stanzas)
ELHB 174 (14 st); TLH 122 (12 st); Australian 553 (8 st.); LW 184 (6 st.); CW 74 (6 st.); Ohio 48 (8 st.)


A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth (LSB 438; 4 stanzas)
Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld (10 stanzas)
ELHB 191 (10 st); TLH 142 (6 st.); Australian 57 (6 st.); ELH 331 (10 st)

Upon the Cross Extended (LSB 453; 7 stanzas)
O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben (16 stanzas)
ELHB 205 (16 st); TLH 171 (12 st); Australian 58 (10 st); LW 120+121 (7 st.); ELH 304 (12 st)


O Thou Sweetest Source of Gladness
O du allersüß’ste Freude! (10 stanzas)
Australian 126 (5 st.); ELH 20 (3 st.); Augustana 155 (3 st.)

Oh, Enter, Lord, Thy Temple
Zeuch ein zu deinen Toren (13 stanzas)
ELHB 252 (13 st); TLH 228 (7 st.); Australian 130 (6 st.); ELH 400 (3 st.); ALH 468 (5 st.); Ohio 106 (5 st.); Augustana 311 (5 st.)


The Mystery Hidden from the Eyes
Was alle Weisheit in der Welt (8 stanzas)
ELHB 264 (8 st.); ELH 405 (7 st.); Ohio 111 (8 st.)


A Pilgrim and a Stranger
Ich bin ein Gast auf Erden (14 stanzas)
TLH 586 (7 st.); Australian 480 (5 st.); ALH 319 (3 st.); Ohio 515 (3 st.)


My Soul, Awake and Tender (J. C. Jacobi)
Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe (10 stanzas)
ALH 635 (4 st.); Wartburg 41

The Golden Sun
~ Evening and Morning (LSB 726; 4 stanzas)
Die güldne Sonne (12 stanzas)
Australian 524 (5 st.)


Oh Jesus Christ! How Bright and Fair (Kelly)
Wie schön ists doch, Herr Jesu Christ (8 stanzas)
Ohio 339 (5 st.)


Let Not Such a Though E’er Pain Thee (Kelly)
Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken (12 stanzas)
ELHB 506 (12 st)

Entrust Your Days and Burdens (LSB 754; 6 stanzas)
Befiehl du deine Wege (12 stanzas)
ELHB 525 (12 st); TLH 520 (12 st); ELH 208 (12 st); ALH 269+270 (4/4 st)

Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me (LSB 756; 5 stanzas)
Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen (12 stanzas)
ELHB 501 (12 st); TLH 523 (8 st.); Australian 413 (6 st.); ELH 377 (8 st.)


Go Forth, My Heart, and Seek Delight
Geh aus mein Herz und suche Freud (15 stanzas)
ALH 645 (6 st.); Australian Supplement 808–809

All Ye Who on This Earth do Dwell
Nun danket all und bringet Ehr (9 stanzas)
TLH 581 (7 st.); Australian 438 (7 st.); ELH 52 (7 st.)

I Will Sing My Maker’s Praises (LSB electronic edition; 5 stanzas)
Sollt ich meinem Gott nicht singen? (12 stanzas)
ELHB 65 (12 st); TLH 25 (6 st.); ELH 448 (6 st.)

O Lord, I Sing with Lips and Heart
~ Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing (LSB 737; 7 stanzas)
Ich singe dir mit Herz und Mund (18 stanzas)
ELHB 292 (18 st); TLH 569 (9 st.); TLH ~ 535 (9 st.); Australian 560 (8 st.); ALH 495 (6 st.); Ohio 364 (6 st.)


Blessed Is the Man
Wohl dem Menschen, der nicht wandelt (4 stanzas)
ELH 457 (4 st.)


Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Many of these hymns have an english translation now in the public domain, by J. Kelly, who published in 1867 Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs. You can find the google ebook here:

I plan to use some of the stanzas from "Oh Jesus Christ! How bright and fair" at my wedding, using the tune Wie Schön Leuchtet.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Thanks for your comment. I am aware of the book by J. Kelly, which I also happened to have found at the google books site the you reference here.

I'm happy to see that you are planning to use "Oh Jesus Christ! How Bright and Fair" at your wedding. I've been suggesting it to various couples over the past year, but with any success yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one or the other of my own children will be inclined to use it for their nuptials; although I do think the translations needs some updating for our modern ears.

Weslie O said...

What about "O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is," LSB 372?

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Weslie, here I've just listed those hymns that were either not included, or else only partially included, in the LSB. As I recall, "O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is" fared pretty well in this regard, so that's why it's not on this list of Gerhardt hymns that were available but still wound up "missing."