Spitta, Carl Johann Philipp, D.D., was born Aug. 1, 1801, at Hannover, where his father, Lebrecht Wilhelm Gottfried Spitta, was then living, as bookkeeper and teacher of the French language. In his eleventh year Spitta fell into a severe illness, which lasted for four years, and so threw him back that his mother (the father died in 1805) abandoned the idea of a professional career, and apprenticed him to a watchmaker. This occupation did not prove at all congenial to him, but he would not confess his dislike, and his family were ignorant of it till an old friend, who was trying to comfort him after the death of a younger brother, discovered his true feelings. The younger brother had been preparing for ordination, and so Carl was now invited… Go to person page >
Ach, uns wird das Herz so leer. C. J. P. Spitta. [Longing for Heaven.] First published in the First Series, 1833, of his Psalter und Harfe , p. 134, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, entitled "Homesickness." Translated as:— Ah! this heart is void and chill. A good translation, omitting stanza v., by Mrs. Findlater in the 2nd Ser., 1855, of the Hymns from the Land of Luther (ed. 1862, p. 110, 1884, p. 86). Included, slightly altered, and omitting stanza ii., as No. 455, in the Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book, 1868. In W. B. Bradbury's Golden Shower, N. Y. 1860 (ed. 1870, p. 158) the translations of stanzas ii., vi., are rewritten, and a chorus added. Stanzas i., ii., iv. of this form, with the chorus, were included as No. 1279, in Robinson's Songs for the Sanctuary , 1865, and, as No. 1048, in the Baptist Praise Book. 1871.
Other translations are:—
(1) “Hungering, thirsting as we go," by Miss Fry, 1859, p. 17. (2) "Ah ! how empty is the heart," by R. Massie, 1860, p. 132. [Rev. James Mearns, M. A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
======================== Ach, uns wird das Hen so leer. This hymn was written in the spring of 1828.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)