||Zwick, Johannes, approximately 1496-1542|
Birth Year (est.):
Zwick, Johann, son of Conrad Zwick, Rathsherr at Constanz, was born at Constanz, circa 1496. He studied law at the Universities of Basel, Freiburg, Paris, and Padua (where he graduated LL.D.), and was for some time a tutor in law at Freiburg and at Basel. In 1518 he entered the priesthood, and in 1522 was appointed parish priest of Riedlingen on the Upper Danube. Being accused of Lutheran tendencies, he was forbidden in 1523 to officiate, and in 1525 his living was formally taken from him. He returned to Constanz, and was appointed by the Council in 1527 as one of the town preachers. Here he laboured unweariedly, caring specially for the children, the poor, and the refugees, till 1542. In Aug. 1542, the people of Bischofszell, in Thurgau, having lost their pastor by the pestilence, besought Constanz to send them a preacher; and Zwick, proceeding there, preached and visited the sick till he himself fell a victim to the pestilence, and died there Oct. 23, 1542 (Koch, ii., 76; Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, xvii. 578, &c).
Zwick was one of the leaders of the Swiss Reformation. He ranks next to Blaurer as the most important of the early hymnwriters of the Reformed Church. His hymns are collected in Wackernagel, iii., Nos. 672-696. The best appeared in the Nüw gsangbüchle von vil schönen Psalmen und geistlichen liedern, published at Zurich, 1536 (2nd edition 1540 is the earliest now extant), of which he was the chief editor, and which was the first hymn-book of the Reformed Church.
The only hymn by Zwick which has passed into English is:—
Auf diesen Tag so denken wir. Ascension. This probably appeared in the Nüw gsangbüchle, Zürich, 1536; and is certainly in the 2nd ed. of 1540, from which it is quoted In Wackernagel, iii. p. 608, in 5 stanzas of 7 lines, with "Alleluia." It is also in (2) the Strassburg Psalmen und geystliche Lieder, 1537, f. 99b, and in (3) S. Salminger's (J. Aberlin's?) Der gantz Psalter, &c.(Zürich?), 1537, f. 146 [British Museum]. In each case it is entitled "Another hymn on the Ascension of Christ," while in 1540 the first line is given as "Uff disen tag so dencken wir," in 1537 (2) as "Uf disen tag so dencken wir," and in 1537 (3) as "Auff disen tag so dencke wir." It is the finest of Zwick's hymns, and its spirit of joyful faith, its conciseness, and its beauty of form, have kept it in use among the Lutherans as well as among the Reformed. It is No. 153 in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851. The translations are:—
1. Raise your devotion, mortal tongues.
2. To-day our Lord went up on high. By Miss Winkworth, omitting stanza iii., in her Lyra Germanica 2nd Ser., 1858, p. 46. Repeated in Schaff’s Christ in Song, 1869 and 1870, and the Schaff-Gilman Library of Religious Poetry, 1881.
3. Aloft to heaven, we songs of praise. This is a free translation, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines, by Dr. G. Walker, in his Hymns from German, 1860, p. 30. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)