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Alas dear Lord, what evil hast Thou done

Alas dear Lord, what evil hast Thou done

Author: Johann Heermann (1630); Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Published in 2 hymnals

Representative Text

Alas dear Lord, what evil hast Thou done,
That such sharp sentence from Thy judge hath won?
What are His crimes, and what the guilt, oh, tell
Wherein He fell!

They scourge Him, crown Him with a crown of thorn,
They smite His face with bitter mock and scorn,
They give Him gall to drink, they pierce His side,
The Crucified!

From head to foot was there no spot in me
Unscarred by sin, from taint of evil free;
My sins had weighed me down that I should dwell
For aye in Hell.

Whence come these sorrows, whence this cruel woe?
It was my sins that struck the fatal blow;
Mine were the wrath and anguish, dearest Lord,
On Thee outpoured.

What strangest punishment! The Shepherd good
For erring sheep here pours His own heart's blood,
The servants' debts are on the Master laid,
Who all hath paid.

Oh wondrous love, love that no measure knows,
That brought Thee, Christ, to drink this cup of woes!
Full of the world's vain joys and hopes was I,
While Thou must die!

O mighty King! mighty beyond all time!
Fain would I sound Thy praise through every clime!
A gift were meet for Thee, my anxious thought
Long time hath sought.

But human wisdom searches, Lord, in vain
To find aught like Thy pity, or Thy pain.
How shall my works, though toiling day and night,
Thy love requite?

Yet have I somewhat that my Lord can please;
I can renounce sweet sins and selfish ease,
And quinch the unhallowed fires that back would lure
To thoughts impure.

But since my strength, alas, will ne'er prevail
My strong desires upon the cross to nail,
Oh let Thy Spirit rule my heart, who leads
To all good deeds.

Then shall Thy mercy fill my every thought,
I love Thee so, the world to me is nought;
My sole endeavour, Lord, is to fulfil
Thy holy will.

My all I risk to magnify Thy name,
No cross shall daunt me, no reproach or shame;
Man's fiercest threats I will not lay to heart,
Nor Death's worst smart.

In truth my sacrifice is nothing worth,
Yet Thou in mercy wilt not cast it forth;
Thou'lt put me not to shame but for love's sake
My offering take.

Lord Jesus, once on high amongst Thine own,
Shall I stand crowned with light before Thy throne!
Where sweetest hymns are ever ringing round,
My voice shall sound.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #33

Author: Johann Heermann

Heermann, Johann, son of Johannes Heermann, furrier at Baudten, near Wohlau, Silesia, was born at Baudten, Oct. 11, 1585. He was the fifth but only surviving child of his parents, and during a severe illness in his childhood his mother vowed that if he recovered she would educate him for the ministry, even though she had to beg the necessary money. He passed through the schools at Wohlau; at Fraustadt (where he lived in the house of Valerius Herberger, q. v., who took a great interest in him); the St. Elizabeth gymnasium at Breslau; and the gymnasium at Brieg. At Easter, 1609, he accompanied two young noblemen (sons of Baron Wenzel von Rothkirch), to whom he had been tutor at Brieg, to the University of Strassburg; but an affection of the e… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Alas dear Lord, what evil hast Thou done
German Title: Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du
Author: Johann Heermann (1630)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Language: English



Instances (1 - 2 of 2)
Page Scan

Lyra Germanica #77


Lyra Germanica #33

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