Go forth, my heart, and seek delight
In this summer time so bright,
The bounties God displayeth,
The garden’s splendour go and see,
Behold how God for me and thee
Them gorgeously arrayeth.
The trees with leaves are cover’d o’er,
The earth with carpet spreads her floor
Of green, all fresh and tender,
The tulip and narcissus wear
Attire of finer texture fair
Than Solomon in splendour.
The lark aspiring soars on high,
Flies from her cleft the dove so shy,
And seeks the woodland shadow;
The nightingale with song so rare
Delights and fills the ev’ning air
O’er mountain, vale, and meadow.
Leads forth her little brood the hen,
The stork builds near the haunts of men,
And feed their young the swallows;
The stag so swift, the roe so light
Of foot, come bounding from the height
Into the grassy hollows.
The brooklets murmur in the sand,
And fringe the edge on either hand
With myrtle rich in shadow;
The shepherds and the sheep rejoice,
In joy and mirth you hear their voice
Sound from the neighb’ring meadow.
The bee through all the live-long hours,
Unwearied roams among the flow’rs,
Its precious stores to gather;
The strong juice of the vine each hour
Is ever gaining strength and pow’r
This glorious summer weather.
While springeth fast the precious grain,
The young and old exult again,
Praise Him with all their powers,
Whose benefits unceasing are,
With gifts so manifold and rare
Who human nature dowers.
I cannot rest, I never dare,
In my Creator’s gracious care
My inmost soul rejoices,
To God most High, when all things raise
A song of universal praise,
My voice shall join their voices.
Methinks it is so pleasant here,
All things so beautiful appear
In this our poor world even;
What will it be when earth we leave,
And at its golden gates receive
Glad welcome into Heaven?
What purest light, what ecstasy,
Will in the Saviour’s garden be!
How will it sound when ’fore Thee,
All with united heart and voice,
Ten thousand seraphins rejoice
And rev’rently adore Thee.
Ah! blessèd God, oh! were I there
Before Thy throne, and did I bear
My branch of palm victorious,
As angels do, my voice I’d raise
Thine ever blessèd name to praise,
In songs of triumph glorious.
But though I still am dwelling here,
And still the body’s burden bear,
Can I be silent?—Never!
My heart, no matter where I be,
Or here or there, shall bend to Thee,
In adoration ever.
Help! Lord, my soul with blessings crown,
With blessings that from Heav’n flow down,
That I may blossom ever!
And may the summer of Thy grace
Cause fruits of faith to grow apace,
Fruits that shall wither never.
And may Thy Spirit dwell in me,
May I a good branch ever be
Ingrafted in the Saviour!
In Thine own garden may I be
To Thy name’s praise a goodly tree,
Implanted by Thy favour!
Grant me Thy paradise to share,
And more fruit may I ever bear
While I am going thither.
Thine honour, Lord, to me is dear,
Thee and Thee only shall I here
And yonder serve for ever.
Paul Gerhardt (b. Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany, 1607; d. Lubben, Germany, 1676), famous author of Lutheran evangelical hymns, studied theology and hymnody at the University of Wittenberg and then was a tutor in Berlin, where he became friends with Johann Crüger. He served the Lutheran parish of Mittenwalde near Berlin (1651-1657) and the great St. Nicholas' Church in Berlin (1657-1666). Friederich William, the Calvinist elector, had issued an edict that forbade the various Protestant groups to fight each other. Although Gerhardt did not want strife between the churches, he refused to comply with the edict because he thought it opposed the Lutheran "Formula of Concord," which condemned some Calvinist doctrines. Consequently, he was r… Go to person page >
Translator: J. Kelly
Kelly, John, was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, educated at Glasgow University, studied theology at Bonn, New College, Edinburgh, and the Theological College of the English Presbyterian Church (to which body he belongs) in London. He has ministered to congregations at Hebburn-on-Tyne and Streatham, and was Tract Editor of the Religious Tract Society. His translations of Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs were published in 1867. Every piece is given in full, and rendered in the metre of the originals. His Hymns of the Present Century from the German were published in 1886 by the Religious Tract Society. In these translations the metres of the originals have not always been followed, whilst some of the hymns have been abridged and others condens… Go to person page >