Christian Fürchtegott Gellert

Christian Fürchtegott Gellert
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Short Name: Christian Fürchtegott Gellert
Full Name: Gellert, Christian Fürchtegott, 1715-1769
Birth Year: 1715
Death Year: 1769

Gellert, Christian Fürchtegott, son of Christian Gellert, pastor at Hainichen in the Saxon Harz, near Freiberg, was born at Hainichen, July 4, 1715. In 1734 he entered the University of Leipzig as a student of theology, and after completing his course acted for some time as assistant to his father. But then, as now, sermons preached from manuscript were not tolerated in the Lutheran Church, and as his memory was treacherous, he found himself compelled to try some other profession. In 1739 he became domestic tutor to the sons of Herr von Lüttichau, near Dresden, and in 1741 returned to Leipzig to superintend the studies of a nephew at the University. He also resumed his own studies. He graduated M.A. 1744; became in 1745 private tutor or lecturer in the philosophical faculty; and was in 1751 appointed extraordinary professor of philosophy, lecturing on poetry and rhetoric, and then on moral philosophy. An ordinary professorship offered to him in 1761 he refused, as he did not feel strong enough to fulfil its duties, having been delicate from a child, and after 1752 suffering very greatly from hypochondria. He died at Leipzig, Dec. 13, 1769 (Koch, vi. 263-277; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, viii. 544-549, &c).

As a professor, Gellert was most popular, numbering Goethe and Lessing among his pupils, and won from his students extraordinary reverence and affection, due partly to the warm interest he took in their personal conduct and welfare. In his early life he was one of the contributors to the Bremer Beiträge; and was one of the leaders in the revolt against the domination of Gottsched and the writers of the French school. His Fables (1st Ser. 1746; 2nd 1748), by their charm of style, spirit, humour and point, may justly be characterised as epoch-making, won for him universal esteem and influence among his contemporaries of all classes, and still rank among the classics of German literature.
As a hymnwriter he also marks an epoch; and while in the revival of churchly feeling the hymns of the Rationalistic period of 1760 to 1820 have been ignored by many recent compilers, yet the greatest admirers of the old standard hymns have been fain to stretch their area of selection from Luther to Gellert. He prepared himself by prayer for their composition, and selected the moments when his mental horizon was most unclouded. He was distinguished by deep and sincere piety, blameless life, and regularity in attendance on the services of the Church. His hymns are the utterances of a sincere Christian morality, not very elevated or enthusiastic, but genuine expressions of his own feelings and experiences; and what in them he preached he also put in practice in his daily life. Many are too didactic in tone, reading like versifications of portions of his lectures on morals, and are only suited for private use. But in regard to his best hymns, it may safely be said that their rational piety and good taste, combined with a certain earnestness and pathos, entitle them to a place among the classics of German hymnody. They exactly met the requirements of the time, won universal admiration, and speedily passed into the hymnbooks in use over all Germany, Roman Catholic as well as Lutheran.

Two of Gellert's hymns are noted under their own first lines, viz., "Jesus lebt, mit ihm auch ich," and "Wie gross ist des All-mächtgen Güte." The following have also passed into English, almost all being taken from his Geistliche Oden und Lieder, a collection of 54 hymns first published at Leipzig, 1757, and which has passed through very numerous editions:—
I. Hymns in English common use:
i. An dir allein, an dir hab ich gesündigt. Lent. 1757, p. 102, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, entitled "Hymn of Penitence." In Zollikofer's Gesange-Buch, 1766, and the Berlin Geistliche Lieder S., ed. 1863, No. 499. Translated as:—
Against Thee only have I sinn'd, I own it. A good and full version, by Miss Wink worth, as No. 42 in her Chorale Book for England, 1863.
Another translation is:— "Against Thee, Lord, Thee only my transgression," by N. L. Frothingham, 1870, p. 241.
ii. Dies ist der Tag, den Gott gemacht. Christmas. One of his best and most popular hymns. 1757, p. 72, in 11 stanzas of 4 lines, repeated in the Berlin Gesang-Buch, 1765, No. 55, and the Berlin Geistliche Lieder S. ed. 1863, No. 154. Translated as:—
This is the day the Lord hath made, O'er all the earth. A translation of stanzas i.-iii., x., by Miss Borthwick, as No. 22 in Dr. Pagenstecher's Collection, 1864, and included in Hymns from the Land of Luther, 1884, p. 256.
Other trs. are:—(1) "This is the day which God ordains," by Dr. G. Walker, 1860, p. 27. (2) "This day shall yet by God's command," in the Family Treasury, 1811, p. 278.
iii. Für alle Güte sei gepreist. Evening. 1757, p. 85, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines, included in Zollikofer's Gesang-Buch 1766, No. 78, and the Berlin Geistliche Lieder S., ed. 1863, No. 1160. Translated as:—
To Father, Son, and Spirit praise. A good and full translation by A. T. Russell, as No. 7 in his Psalms & Hymns, 1851.
Another translation is: — "For all Thy kindness laud I Thee," by H. J. Buckoll, 1842, p. 96.
iv. Gott ist mein Lied. Praise. On God's Might and Providence. 1757, p. 78, in 15 st. of 5 1. In the Berlin Geistliche Lieder S.., ed. 1863, No. 24. Translated as:—
God is my song, His praises I'll repeat, A free translation of stanzas i.-v., as No. 94 in Sir John Bowring's Hymns, 1825. Repeated, omitting stanza ii., as No. 114 in Dale's English Hymn Book, 1875.
Other translations are:— (1) “Of God I sing," by Dr. H. Mills, 1856, p. 11. (2) "God is my song, With sovereign," by N. L. Frothingham, 1870, p. 243.
v. Wenn ich, o Schöpfer, deine Macht. Praise. This fine hymn of Praise for Creation and Providence was first published 1757, p. 62, in 6 stanzas of 7 lines. In the Berlin Gesang-Buch, 1765, No. 25, and Berlin Geistliche Lieder S.ed. 1863, No. 72. Translated as:—-
Thou Great First Cause! when of Thy skill. In full in Dr. H. Mills's Horae Germanicae, 1845 (1856, p. 5). Stanzas ii., iii., v., vi., altered and beginning, "The earth, where'er I turn mine eye," are in the American Lutheran General Synod's Collection, 1852.
Other trs. are:— (1) "When, O my dearest Lord, I prove," by Miss Dunn, 1857, p. 80. (2) "Creator! when I see Thy might," in Madame de Pontes's Poets and Poetry of Germany, 1858, v. i. p. 472. (3) "When I, Creator, view Thy might," by Miss Manington, 1863.
vi. Wer Gottes Wort nicht halt, und spricht. Faith in Works. This didactic hymn on Faith proved by Works, was first published 1757, p. 49, in 5 stanzas of 6 lines. In Zollikofer's Gesang-Buch, 1766, and the Berlin Geistliche Lieder S. ed. 1863, No. 72. Translated as:—
Who keepeth not God's Word, yet saith. A good and full translation by Miss Winkworth, in her Lyra Germanica, 2nd Ser., 1858, p. 161. A greatly altered version of stanzas ii.—v., beginning, "True faith in holy life will shine," was included as No. 418 in Kennedy, 1863, and repeated in the Ibrox Hymnal 1871, J. L. Porter's Collection 1876, and others.
II. Hymns not in English common use:
vii. Auf Gott, und nicht auf meinen Rath. Trust in God's Providence. 1757, p. 134, in 6 stanzas. Translated as: (1) "Rule Thou my portion, Lord, my skill," by Dr. H. Mills, 1845 (1856, p. 164). (2) "On God and on no earthly trust," by J. D. Burns, in his Remains, 1869.
viii. Auf, schicke dich. Christmas. 1757, p. 109, in 1 stanza. Translated as, "Come, tune your heart," by Miss Cox, 1841, p. 17 (1864, p. 39).
ix. Dein Heil, o Christ! nicht zu verscherzen. Prayer. 1757, p. 6, in 14 stanzas of 8 lines. In J. A. Schlegel's Geistliche Gesänge, 3rd Ser., 1772, p. 193, recast as "Zu deinem Gotte beten," in 5 stanzas of 12 lines; and this in the Kaiserwerth Lieder-Buch für Kleinkinderschulen, 1842, No. 208, appears "Zu Gott im Himmel beten," in 8 stanzas of 4 lines. The 1842 was translated as, "O how sweet it is to pray," by Mrs. Bevan, 1859, p. 148.
x. Der Tag ist wieder hin, und diesen Theil des Lebens. Evening. 1757, p. 13, in 10 stanzas, as "Self-Examination at Eventide." Translated as,"Another day is ended," by Miss Warner, 1869 (1871, p. 9).
xi. Du klagst, und fühlest die Beschwerden. Contentment. 1757, p. 91, in 8 stanzas. Translated as "Thy wounded spirit feels its pain," by Dr. B. Maguire, 1883, p. 153.
xii. Erinnre dich, mein Geist, erfreut. Easter. 1757, p. 27, in 13 stanzas. Translated as, "Awake, my soul, and hail the day," in Dr. J. D. Lang's Aurora Australis, Sydney, 1826, p. 43.
xiii. Er ruft der Sonn, und schafft den Mond. New Year. 1757, p. 154, in 6 stanzas. In the Berlin Gesang-Buch, 1765, No. 233, as "Gott ruft." Translated as, “Lord, Thou that ever wast and art," in the British Magazine, Jan., 1838, p. 36.
xiv. Gott, deine Güte reicht so weit. Supplication. 1757, p. 1, in 4 stanzas, founded on 1 Kings iii. 5-14. The translations are: (1) "O God, Thy goodness doth extend, Far as," by Dr. J. D. Lang, 1826, p. 10. (2) "Behold! Thy goodness, oh my God," by Miss Fry, 1845, p. 78.
xv. Gott ist mein Hort. Holy Scripture. 1757, p. 70, in 8 stanzas. Translated as, "I trust the Lord, Upon His word," by Dr. H. Mills, 1845 (1856, p. 23).
xvi. Herr, der du mir das Leben. Evening. 1757, p. 121, in 5 stanzas. Translated as, "By Thee, Thou Lord of Heaven," by H. J. Buckoll, 1842, p. 97.
xvii. Herr, starke mich, dein Leiden su bedenken. Passiontide. 1757, p. 123, in 22 stanzas. Translated as, "Clothe me, oh Lord, with strength! that I may dwell” by Miss Fry, 1859, p. 153.
xviii. Ich hab in guten Stunden. For the Sick. 1757, p. 128, in 6 stanzas. [See the Story of a Hymn, in the Sunday at Home for Sept., 1865.] Translated as: (1) “I have had my days of blessing," by Mrs. Findlater, in Hymns from the Land of Luther, 1855, p. 60. (2) "Once, happy hours with blessings crowned," by A. B. H., in the Day of Rest, 1877, p. 405.
xix. Ich komme, Herr, und suche dich. Holy Communion. 1757, p. 89, in 5 stanzas. The translations are: (1) "I come, 0 Lord, and seek for Thee," by Miss Manington, 1863, p. 14. (2) “Weary and laden with my load, I come," by Dr. B. Maguire, 1872, p. 178.
xx. Ich komme vor dein Angesicht. Supplication. 1757, p. 140. in 13 stanzas. The translations are: (1) "Great God, I bow before Thy face," by Dr. J. D. Lang, 1826, p. 23. (2) “Now in Thy presence I appear," by Dr. H. Mills, 1845 (1856, p. 137).
xxi. Mein erst Gefühl sei Preis und Dank. Morning. 1757, p. 55, in 12 stanzas. Translated as, "I bless Thee, Lord, Thou God of might," beginning with st. vi., by H. J. Buckoll, 1842, p. 56.
xxii. Nach einer Prüfung kurzer Tage. Eternal Life. 1757, p. 158, in 12 stanzas, as "The Consolation of Eternal Life." Though hardly a hymn for congregational use and too individualised, it has been a very great favourite in Germany. In the Berlin Gesang-Buch, 1765, 132, and the Berlin Geistliche Liedersegen, ed. 1863, No. 1483. The translations are: (1) "A few short days of trial past," in Miss Knight's Prayers and Hymns from the German, 1812 (1832, p. 107). (2) "A few short hours of transient joy," by Dr. J. D. Lang, 1826, p. 123. (3) “When these brief trial-days are past," by J. Sheppard, 1857, p. 98. (4) “A few short days of trial here,” by Miss Burlingham, in the British Herald, July 1865, p. 98. (5) "Our few short years of trial o'er," by Dr. J. Guthrie, 1869, d. 124. (6) “When these brief trial-days are spent," by Miss Winkworth, 1869, p. 318. (7) "A few more days, a few more years," by Dr. R. Maguire, 1883, p. 165.
xxiii 0 Herr, mein Gott! durch den ich bin und lebe. Resignation to the will of God. 1757, p. 152. in 7 st. Translated as, "In Thee, my God, I live and move," by Dr. R. Maguire, 1883, p. 113.
xxiv. So hoff’ ich denn mit festem Muth . Assurance of the Grace of God. 1757, p. 115, in 4 stanzas. The translations are: (1) "Firm is my hope of future good," by Dr. H. Mills, 1845 (1856, p. 188). (2) “In Thee, O Lord, my hope hath stood," by Dr. R. Maguire, 1872.
zzv. Was ists dast ich mich quäle. Patience. 1757, p. 17, in 7 stanzas. The translations are: (1) "O foolish heart, be still," by Miss Warner, 1858 (1861, p. 452), repeated in Bishop Ryle's Collection, 1860, No. 181 (2) “What billows these that o'er thee roll," by Dr. R. Maguire, 1872.
xxvi. Wie sicher lebt der Mensch, der Staub. For the Dying. 1757, p. 149, in 14 stanzas. Translated as, "How heedless, how secure is man!" by Dr. H. Mills, 1845 (1856, p. 238).

One or two recasts from Gellert's Lehrgedichte und Erzählungen, Leipzig, 1754, came into German common use, and one has passed into English, viz.:—
xxvii. Mensch, der du Christus schmähst, was ist in ihrer Lehre. Love to Mankind. 1754, pp. 27-56, being a poem entitled “The Christian." A recast from portions of this made by J. S. Diterich, beginning "Gieb mir, O Gott, ein Herz," in 9 stanzas, appears as No. 219 in the Berlin Gesang-Buch, 1765; and has been translated as "Grant me, O God! a tender heart," by Miss Knight, 1812 (1832, p. 97). [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Wikipedia Biography

Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (4 July 1715 – 13 December 1769) was a German poet, one of the forerunners of the golden age of German literature that was ushered in by Lessing.

Texts by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (102)sort descendingAsInstances
Against Thee only have I sinn'd, I own itGellert (Author)2
An dir allein, an dir hab ich gesuendigtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
An dir hab ich gesuendigt, HerrChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
Auf dich, Herr, nicht auf meinen RathC. F. Gellert (Author)6
Auf Gott, und nicht auf meinen RatChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)27
Auf, Schicke dich, recht feierlich des HeilandsChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)7
Besitz ich nur ein ruhiges GewissenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
Come! tune your heart, to bear its partChristian F. Gellert (Author)2
¡Cristo vive! Aunque murióChristian Fürchtegott Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)2
Crushed by my sin, O Lord, to theeC. F. Gellert (Author)6
Dein Heil, o Christ, nicht zu verscherzenC. F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)9
Dein ist das Licht, das uns erhelitChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)12
Der Herr ist Schild und SonneGellert (Author)1
Der Wollust Reiz zu widerstehenC. F. Gellert (Author)3
Die himmel rühmen Gottes EhreC. F. Gellert (Author)2
Dies ist der Tag, den Gott gemachtC. F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)17
Dir Dank ich für mein LebenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)12
Du bist's, dem Ehr' und Ruhm gebuehrtC. F. Gellert (Author)10
Du fuehlst, o Christ, das LeidenGellert (Author)3
Du klagst, und fuehlest die BeschwerdenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)11
Ein Herz, o Gott, in Leid und Kreuz geduldigC. F. Gellert (Author)4
Ein Tag ist wieder hinChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)5
Erforsche mich, erfahr mein Herz und siehChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
Erinnre dich, mein Geist, efreutChr. F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)32
Forsøm dog ei din SalighedChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
Forsøm ei Herrens MenighedChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
Früh wollst du mich mit deiner Gnade füllenC. F. Gellert (Author)2
Fuer alle Guete sei gepreistChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)14
Gelobet seist du, Gott der MachtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)4
Gib mir, o Gott, ein HerzChristian Fürchtegott Gellert (Author)1
Gott, deine Gnad' ist unser LebenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)11
Gott, deine Guete reicht so weitChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)21
Gott ist mein Hort, und auf sein WortChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)27
Gott ist mein Lied, er ist der Gott der StärkeC. F. Gellert (Author)25
Gott ruft der Sonn' and schafft den MondC. F. Gellert (Author)16
Hallelujah, Jesus lives, Reigns o'er hellChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
Herr! der du alles giebst, Von dem ich alles habeChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
Herr, der du mir das Leben Christian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)31
Herr, stärke mich, ein Leiden zu bedenkenC. F. Gellert (Author)13
How great, Almighty, is thy kindnessChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)4
How great the goodness of the AlmightyChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)1
How great thy goodness, heavenly FatherChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
I have had my days of blessingChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)1
I have had my happy daysGellert (Author)1
I trust the Lord, upon his wordChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)7
Ich hab in guten StundenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)14
Ich komme, Herr, und suche dichChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)18
Ich komme vor dein AngesichtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)12
Jag kommer, Gud! och söker digC. F. Gellert, d. 1769 (Author)2
Jesus lebt, mit ihm auch ichC. F. Gellert (Author)57
Jesus lives, and I with himChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
Jesus lives, and so do weChristian F. Gellert (Author)2
Jesus lives, and so shall I Christian F. Gellert (Author)34
Jesus lives! thy terrors nowChristian F. Gellert (Author)177
Jesus ni! Wicoŋṭe kiŋChristian F. Gellert (Author)1
Komm betend oft und mit VergnügenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)21
Lass deinen Geist mich stets, mein Heiland, lehrenChristian F. Gellert (Author)4
Mein erst Gefühl sei Preis und DankChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)44
Mein Geist, ermuntre dich zum PreiseC. F. Gellert (Author)6
Meine Lebenszeit verstreichtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)36
Menschen, unser Leben eilt, Ohne Rast und unverwailtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)5
Menska! o, hvi dröjer duC. F. Gellert (Author)3
Nach einer Pruefung kurzer TageChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)36
Nicht, dass ich's schon ergriffen hätteChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)13
Nie will ich dem zu schaden suchenChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)15
Nie will ich wieder fluchen, Wenn mir mein hasser fluchtC. F. Gellert (Author)6
O God, thy goodness reacheth farChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
O sing to God, the God of boundless powerChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
O wahrheit, die uns Leben gibtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
Oft klagt dein Herz, wie schwer es seiC. F. Gellert (Author)5
O Foolish heart, be stillC. F. Gelbert (Author)2
Ohne Rast und unverweilt, StroemenGellert Nach (Author)1
Oppressed by sin, O Lord, to theeC.F. Gellert (Author)3
På Gud, och ej på eget rådE. F. Gellert, d. 1769 (Author)2
So hoff' ich denn mit festem MuthC. F. Gellert (Author)10
So jemand spricht, ich liebe GottChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)34
Soll dein verderbtes HerzChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)23
Swiftly flies my span of lifeChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
The heavens are declaring the Lord's endlessChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)6
The heavens are telling the Lord's endless gloryChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)5
The heavens declare all the Lord's endless gloryChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
The heavens proclaim their MasterChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
The heavens resound with his praises eternalChristian F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)1
This is the day that God has made (Thierstein)Christian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)2
Thy praise, O Lord, shall be my songChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)3
True faith in holy life will shineC. F. Gellert (Author)2
Was ich nur Gutes habeChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)4
Was ist's, daß ich mich quäle?Christian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)7
We trust thee, Lord, upon thy wordChristian F. Gellert (Author)1
Wenn Christus seine Kirche schuetztChr. F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)16
Wenn ich, o Schöpfer, deine MachtChrist. F. Gellert (Author)62
Wer dieser Erde Gueter hatC. F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)9
Wer Gottes Wort nicht hält und sprichtChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)14
When I, O Lord, thy might beholdChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)1
When I survey Thy wondrous powerChristian F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)2
Who keepeth not God's word, yet saithC. F. Gellert (Author)3
Wie groß ist des Allmächt'gen Güte!Christian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)56
Wie selig lebt ein MechschC. F. Gellert (Author)4
Wie sicher lebt der Mensch, der StaubChristian Fuerchtegott Gellert (Author)50
Willst du die Bessrung nochC. F. Gellert (Author)3
Willst du die Buße nochChristian Fürchtegott Gellert (Author)4
Wohl dem, der bess're Schätze liebtC. F. Gellert, 1715-1769 (Author)10

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