O Morning Star! how fair and brightTranslator: Catherine Winkworth; Author: Philipp Nicolai (1599)
Tune: WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET
Published in 64 hymnals
Audio files: Recording
1 How lovely shines the Morning Star!
The nations see and hail afar
The light in Judah shining.
Thou David's Son of Jacob's race,
My Bridegroom and my King of Grace,
For Thee my heart is pining.
Great and glorious, Thou victorious
Prince of graces,
Filling all the heav'nly places.
2 O highest joy by mortals won,
True Son of God and Mary's Son,
Thou high-born King of ages!
Thou art my heart's most beauteous Flow'r,
And Thy blest Gospel's saving pow'r
My raptured soul engages.
Thou mine, I Thine;
Sing hosanna! Heav'nly manna
Whilst Thy love in songs repeating.
3 Now richly to my waiting heart,
O Thou, my God, deign to impart
The grace of love undying.
In Thy blest body let me be,
E'en as the branch is in the tree,
Thy life my life supplying.
For the savor Of Thy favor;
Till I rest in Thee forever.
4 A pledge of peace from God I see
When Thy pure eyes are turned to me
To show me Thy good pleasure.
Jesus, Thy Spirit and Thy Word,
Thy body and Thy blood, afford
My soul its dearest treasure.
Keep me Kindly
In Thy favor, O my Savior!
Thou wilt cheer me;
Thy Word calls me to draw near Thee.
5 Thou, mighty Father, in Thy Son
Didst love me ere Thou hadst begun
This ancient world's foundation.
Thy Son hath made a friend of me,
And when in spirit Him I see,
I joy in tribulation.
What bliss Is this!
He that liveth To me giveth
Nothing me from Him can sever.
6 Lift up the voice and strike the string.
Let all glad sounds of music ring
In God's high praises blended.
Christ will be with me all the way,
Today, tomorrow, every day,
Till trav'ling days be ended.
Sing out, Ring out
Triumph glorious, O victorious,
Praise the God of your salvation.
7 Oh, joy to know that Thou, my Friend,
Art Lord, Beginning without end,
The First and Last, Eternal!
And Thou at length--O glorious grace!--
Wilt take me to that holy place,
The home of joys supernal.
Come and meet me! Quickly greet me!
With deep yearning,
Lord, I look for Thy returning.
|First Line:||O Morning Star! how fair and bright|
|German Title:||Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern|
|Author:||Philipp Nicolai (1599)|
|Place of Origin:||Germany|
st. 1 = Rev. 22:16
st. 2 = John 1:14
This text is based on the famous Lutheran chorale 'Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern" by Philipp Nicolai, published in his Frewden-Spiegel dess ewigen Lebens (1599).
Philipp Nicolai (b. Mengeringhausen, Waldeck, Germany, 1556; d. Hamburg, Germany, 1608) described his text as "a Spiritual bridal song of the believing soul concerning her Heavenly Bridegroom, founded in the 45th Psalm of the Prophet David." He wrote the text in 1597, the year after the Black Plague had ravaged Germany. Even though this chorale arose out of sadness, it became popular for wed¬dings in Germany. The chorale is often called the "Queen of the Chorales"; his “Wake, Awake” (613) is named "King of the Chorales."
Nicolai lived an eventful life–he fled from the Spanish army, sparred with Roman Catholic and Calvinist opponents, and ministered to plague-stricken congregations. Educated at Wittenberg University, he was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1583 in the city of Herdecke. However, he was soon at odds with the Roman Catholic town council, and when Spanish troops arrived to reestablish Roman dominance, Nicolai fled. In 1588 he became chief pastor at Altwildungen and court preacher to Countess Argaretha of Waldeck. During that time Nicolai battled with Calvinists, who disagreed with him about the theology of the real presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. These doctrinal controversies were renewed when he served the church in Unna, Westphalia. During his time as a pastor there, the plague struck twice, and Nicolai wrote both "How Bright Appears the Morning Star" and "Wake, Awake." Nicolai's last years were spent as Pastor of St. Katherine's Church in Hamburg.
The English text, only loosely translated from the original German, is mainly the work of William Mercer (b. Barnard Castle, Durham, England, 1811; d. Leavy Green, Sheffield, England, 1873). First published in Church Psalter and Hymn Book (1856) and revised substantially in 1859, Mercer's text incorporates some lines from a translation of Nicolai's chorale by John C. Jacobi published in Jacobi's Psalmodia Germanica (1722). Mercer's text includes certain Nicolai phrases, omits Nicolai's love-song imagery, and emphasizes objective praise and prayer.
Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, Mercer was ordained in the Church of England and served the parish of St. George's, Sheffield (1840-1873). Be translated and paraphrased several hymns from Latin and German, but his main contribution to church music was as compiler, with John Goss (PHH 164), of the most popular psalter and hymnal in the Church of England in the mid-nineteenth century. This collection had the imposing title The Church Psalter and Hymn Book, comprising the Psalter, or Psalms of David, together with the Canticles, Pointed for Chanting; Four Hundred Metrical Hymns and Six Responses to the Commandments; the whole united to appropriate Chan and Tunes, for the Use of Congregations and Families (1854, enlarged 1856, and published with an Appendix 1872).
Stanza 1 begins with the words "Morning Star" from Revelation 22: 16 and proceeds to give Old Testament names for the Messiah–"O Righteous Branch," "O Jesse's Rod." Stanza 2 relates how Christ left his glory to become human for our salvation. Both stanzas 1 and 2 end with a prayer of petition. Stanza 3, with a prayer of praise, rejoices in Christ's incarnation and exhorts the Incarnate God to "ride on, great Conqueror, till all know your salvation."
Epiphany; Christmas season; any worship service that focuses on Christ as Lord.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
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