Beim frühen Morgenlicht. [Morning.] We have found this hymn in two forms, each differing somewhat from the other, and both differing from the text Caswall seems to have used for his translation. The earlier is in the Katholisches Gesang-Buchbuchlein, Würzburg, 1828 [University Library, Würzburg], edited by Canon S. Pörtner, for use in the Diocese of Würzburg; where it occurs as No. 88, at p. 183, in 14 stanza of 4 lines, and double refrain, entitled "The Christian Greeting." No author's name is given, but it is probably of Franconian origin, and does not seem older than the present century. The second is in F. W. von Ditfurth's Frankische Volkslieder, Leipzig, 1855, pt. i., p. 12, in 13 stanza of 4 lines, with double refrain, entitled "Gelobt sey Jesus Christus." Eight stanzas of the first form are in the Katholisches Gesang-Buchbuchlein, 7th edition, Aschaffenburg, 1860, and the second form is given in full in the Evang. Kinder Gesang-Buch, Basel, 1867, No. 59. The last four stanzas of the Würzburg Gesang-Buch, 1828, are here quoted for comparison.
xi. Die Finsterniss wird Licht,
Wenn fromm die Zunge spricht:
Gelobt sey Jesus Christus!
Die Macht der Hölle flieht
Vor diesem süssen Lied:
Gelobt sey Jesus Christus!
xii. Im Himmel selbst erschallt,
Mit heiligem Gewalt! Gelobt, &c.
Des Vaters ewigem Wort,
Ertönet ewig dort: Gelobt, &c.
xiii. Ihr Menschenkinder all'
Singt laut im Jubelschall: Gelobt, &c
Rings urn den Erdenkreis,
Ertöne Gott zum Preis : Gelobt, &c.
xiv. Singt Himmel, Erd' und Meer,
Und aller Engel Heer: Gelobt, &c.
Es schalle weit und breit,
In Zeit und Ewigkeit: Gelobt, &c,
The only translation in common use is—
When morning gilds the skies, by E. Caswall, first published in H. Formby's Catholic Hymns, London, N. D., 1854 [approbation May 3, 1853], p. 44, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines and double refrain. In Caswall's Masque of Mary, 1858, 8 stanzas were added, and thus in his Hymns & Poems, 1873, p. 155, in 28 stanzas of 2 lines and refrain, entitled "The Praises of Jesus," the first line being given as "Gelobt sey Jesus Christ," which, as will be seen above, is the original refrain. The full text is given unaltered as No. 269 in the Appendix to the Hymnal Noted, 3rd edition, 1867.
This hymn has attained considerable popularity, and is found in varying centos, as in Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1868-75; Hymnary, 1872 ; Baptist Hymnal, 1879; Scottish Free Church Hymn Book, 1882; Border's Collection, 1884; and in America in the Baptist Praise Book, 1871; Evangelical Hymnal, N. Y., 1880; Laudes Domini, 1884, and others. Generally it appears under its original first line, but in the People's Hymnal, 1867, it is divided into two parts, No. 446 beginning "The night becomes as day," which is stanza xi. of the 1828, and stanza xx. of the text of 1873. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)