How long, Lord, in forgetfulness
And darkness wilt Thou leave me?
How long will sorrow on me press
And deep heart-anguish grieve me?
Wilt Thou Thy face, Lord, utterly
Turn from me? wilt ne’er look on me
In grace and in compassion?
How long shall I, thy stricken child,
Bereft of soul-rest languish?
How long shall storm and wind so wild,
Fill heart with fear and anguish?
How long shall my proud enemy,
Who only meaneth ill to me,
Exult o’er me in triumph?
Ah! look on me, my Shield and Lord!
Down from Thy holy heaven,
And hear now my complaining word,
My pray’r from heart grief-riven.
Give to mine eyes, Lord, pow’r and might,
And do not let death’s gloomy night
So speedily o’ertake me.
For then, Lord, ev’ry enemy
Would never cease to glory,
And were I prostrate utterly,
Would ever triumph o’er me.
“There lieth he,” they’d cry in joy,
“Who caus’d us evermore annoy,
He’s prostrate and ne’er riseth.”
I know them, and I know fall well
The wickedness they’re planning,
Their hearts with ev’ry evil swell,
No good them e’er restraining.
But Thou, the faithful One, Lord, art,
And those who choose Thee for their part,
Thou nevermore forsakest.
My soul doth calmly trust in Thee,
Thou true to me remainest,
Of malice and of subtlety
The course, with pow’r restrainest.
This makes my heart with joy o’erflow,
That willingly dost Thou bestow
Salvation on the trusting.
O Lord! for aye I’ll trust in Thee,
Thou’rt my sole joy for ever;
Thou doest well, protectest me,
From sorrow dost deliver.
And therefore I my whole life long,
Will sing Thee oft a gladsome song
Of praise and of thanksgiving.
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 >