Awake, Thou Spirit, who of old

Representative Text

1 Awake, Thou Spirit, who didst fire
The watchmen of the Church's youth,
Who faced the Foe's envenomed ire,
Who witnessed day and night Thy truth,
Whose voices loud are ringing still
And bringing hosts to know Thy will.

2 Lord, let our earnest pray'r be heard,
The pray'r Thy Son hath bid us pray;
For lo, Thy children's hearts are stirred
In ev'ry land in this our day,
To cry with fervent soul to Thee,
"O help us, Lord! so let it be!"

3 O haste to help, ere we are lost!
Send preachers forth, in spirit strong,
Armed with Thy Word, a dauntless host,
Bold to attack the rule of wrong.
Let them the earth for Thee reclaim,
Thy heritage, to know Thy name.

4 And let Thy Word have speedy course,
Through ev'ry land be glorified
Till all the heathen know its force
And fill Thy churches far and wide.
Wake Isreal from his sleep, O Lord,
And spread the conquest of thy Word!

5 The Church's desert path restore;
Let stumbling-blocks that in them lie
Hinder Thy Word henceforth no more:
Error destroy, and heresy,
And let Thy Church, from hirelings free,
Bloom as a garden fair to Thee!

Source: Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #395

Author: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Author: Carl Heinrich von Bogatzky

Bogatzky, Carl Heinrich von.   He was born Sept. 7,1690, on his father's estate of Jankowe, near Militsch, in Silesia. His father, J. A. v. Bogatzky, was descended from a noble Hungarian family, and entering the Austrian service attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Bogatzky's early education was picked up at various places as family arrangements permitted. He was for some time page at the Ducal Court of Weissenfels. From Weissenfels his father removed him to 13realau, to prepare for entering the army. During a long illness at Breslau he became convinced that God had other work for him to do. Receiving an offer of assistance from Count Heinrich xxiv., of Reuss-Kostriz, towards the expenses of an University course, he entered Urn Univer… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Awake, Thou Spirit, who of old
German Title: Wach auf, du Geist der ersten Zeugen
Author: Carl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1727)
Author: Catherine Winkworth
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


i. Wach auf du Geist der ersten Zeugen. [Missions.] First published 1750, as above, No. 133, in 14 stanzas of 6 lines, entitled, "For faithful labourers in the Harvest of the Lord, for the blessed spread of the Word to all the world." Included in the Berlin Geistliche Liedersegen, ed., 1863, No. 1383. Translated as:—-
Awake, Thou Spirit, Who of old. A good translation of stanzas i.-iii., v.-viii. by Miss Winkworth, in her Lyra Germanica, 1st series, 1855, p. 41, and thence, omitting st. ii., altered in metre, and beginning, "Awake, Thou Spirit, Who didst fire," as No. 290 in the Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book, 1868. In Miss Winkworth's Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 87, it is altered in metre to "Wake, Spirit, Who in times now olden," stanza vii. being omitted, and this form is No. 190 in the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal, 1880.
Another translation is "O spirit of the early martyrs, wake," in the British Herald, Oct. 1865, p. 151. Not in common use.
[Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



DIR, DIR, JEHOVA was published anonymously in Georg Wittwe's Musikalisches Handbuch der Geistlichen Melodien (1690). The bar form (AAB) melody was expanded in Johann A. Freylinghausen's Geistreiches Gesangbuch (1704), where it was set to a hymn by Bärtholomaus Crasselius, "Dir, dir, Jehovah, vill i…

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Christian Worship (1993) #567

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Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #395

The Hymnal 1982 #540

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