Hark! a voice saith, All are mortal

Representative Text

1 Hark, a voice saith, all are mortal,
Yea, all flesh must fade as grass;
Only through a death-rent portal
To a better world ye pass;
Dust to dust must sink inglorious
Ere this body rise victorious
To the realms of life and light,
Won for saints thro' Jesus' might.

2 Therefore, when my Father chooses,
Willingly my life I'll yield;
He but gains, nay, never loses,
Who with Jesus quits the field;
For in my Redeemer's merit
Peace has found my troubled spirit,
And in death my comfort this:
Jesus' death assures me bliss.

3 In those bright celestial regions
All is life and peace and joy;
Souls are there in countless legions,
Happy in the Lord's employ.
There the Seraphim are dwelling
Who, in holiness excelling,
Praise with heaven's mighty host
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

4 There the patriarchs are living,
There the prophets all abide,
There th'apostles, homage giving,
Ever dwell at Jesus' side.
There the Lord's whole congregation
Has its place of habitation;
There, to honor God, their King,
All their hallelujahs sing.

5 O blest city of the sainted,
Wondrous fair Jerusalem,
How thy beauty, pure, unattained,
Sparkles like a precious gem!
What sweet voices there are sounding,
And what joys are there abounding!
Night shall never follow day,
Light from God will shine for aye.

Source: American Lutheran Hymnal #305

Author: Johann Georg Albinus

Albinus, Johann Georg eldest s. of Zacharias Albinus, pastor at Unter-Nessa, near Weissenfels, Saxony, 1621-1633, and at Stuhlburgwerben, 1633-1635, was b. at UnterNessa, March 6, 1624. After his father's death, in 1635, he was, in 1638, adopted by his cousin, Lucas Pollio, diaconus at St Nicholas's Church in Leipzig. After his cousin's death, in 1643, the Court preacher, Sebastian Mitternacht, of Naumburg, took an interest in him, and he remained at Naumburg till he entered the University of Leipzig, in 1645. He studied for eight years at Leipzig, during which time ho acted as house tutor to the Burgomaster, Dr. Friedrich Kuhlwein, and was then, in 1653, appointed Eector of the Cathedral School at Naumburg. This post he resigned when, in… Go to person page >

Translator: 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 >

Text Information

First Line: Hark! a voice saith, All are mortal
German Title: Alle Menschen müssen sterben
Author: Johann Georg Albinus (1652)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


i. Alle Menschen mussen sterben. [For the Dying.] This hymn, which Koch, iii. 397, calls "his best known hymn, and a pearl in the Evangelical Treasury of Song," was written for the funeral of Paul von Henssberg, a Leipzig merchant, and was thus sung, from broadsheets, June 1, 1652. It was given in Niedling's Wasserquelle, Altenburg, 1663, and gradually came into universal use, passing through Freylinghausen's Gesang-Buch, 1704, into most subsequent collections, as in the Unverfalschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 804, in 8 stanzas of 8 lines. It was a great favourite of P. J. Spener, who sang it regularly on Sunday afternoons; of J. F. Hochstetter, Prelate of Murrhardt, and many others (Koch, viii. 628-631).
In the Blatter fur Hymnologie, 1884, pp. 55-58, the text is quoted in full from the original broadsheet [Ducal Library, Gotha], the title of which ends "Mit seiner Poesie und Musick erweisen wollen Johannes Rosenmuller." Rosenmuller is not, however, known as a hymn-writer, and this statement is hardly sufficient to overthrow the traditional ascription to Albinus.
The translations in common use are:—

2. Hark! a voice saith, all are mortal. A good translation omitting stanzas v., viii., as No. 196 by Miss Winkworth in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, and with a translation of stanza v. added as No. 429 in the Ohio Luth. Hymnal, 1880.

-John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The tune SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. B…

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[Jesu, meines Lebens Leben] (11756)

The composer of the tune is unknown; it was first published in Das grosse Cantional: oder Kirchen-Gesangbuch (Darmstadt, 1687) to the text "Alle Menschen mussen sterben" by J. G. Albinus; some Baroque organ works are associated with that text. The tune became associated with Homburg's text since the…

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Instances (1 - 9 of 9)
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American Lutheran Hymnal #305

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Chorale Book for England, The #196

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Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-book #374

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Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-book #530

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Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal #429

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Evangelical Lutheran hymnal #429

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Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal. 9th ed. #a429

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Hymnal for Evangelical Lutheran Missions #186

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The Selah Song Book (Das Sela Gesangbuch) (2nd ed) #534a

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