It Is Not Death to Die

Representative Text

1 It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.

2 It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears
And wake in glorious repose
To spend eternal years.

3 It is not death to bear
The wrench that sets us free
From dungeon chain, to breathe the air
Of boundless liberty.

4 It is not death to fling
Aside this sinful dust
And rise, on strong, exulting wing
To live among the just.

5 Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die:
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high.


Source: The Lutheran Hymnal #602

Author: César Malan

Rv Henri Abraham Cesar Malan, 1787-1864. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, into a bourgeois family that moved to Switzerland to escape religious persecution during the French Revolution, he attended the university in Marseilles, France, intending to become a businessman. Although having some grounding in religious faith by his mother, he decided to attend the Academy at Geneva (founded by Calvin) in preparation for ministry. He was ordained in 1810, after being appointed a college master (teaching Latin) in 1809. Malan was in accord with the National Church of Geneva as a Unitarian, but the Reveil Movement caused him to become a dissident (evangelical) instead of a proponent of the Reformed Church (believing works, not faith, was what mattere… Go to person page >

Translator: George W. Bethune

Bethune, George Washington, D.D. A very eminent divine of the Reformed Dutch body, born in New York, 1805, graduated at Dickinson Coll., Carlisle, Phila., 1822, and studied theology at Princeton. In 1827 he was appointed Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church, Rinebeck, New York. In 1830 passed to Utica, in 1834 to Philadelphia, and in 1850 to the Brooklyn Heights, New York. In 1861 he visited Florence, Italy, for his health, and died in that city, almost suddenly after preaching, April 27, 1862. His Life and Letters were edited by A. R. Van Nest, 1867. He was offered the Chancellorship of New York University, and the Provostship of the University of Pennsylvania, both of which he declined. His works include The Fruits of the Spirit, 1839; Ser… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: It is not death to die
Title: It Is Not Death to Die
Author: César Malan (1832)
Translator: George W. Bethune (1847)
Language: English
Notes: Arabic translation: See ليس موت الجسم موتا by Salīm Abdel Ahad
Copyright: Public Domain


It is not death to die. A translation of Caesar Malan's " Non, ce n'est pas mourir," (q.v.) from his Lays, 1847, p. 141, in 5 stanzas of 4 1ines. As stated above, Dr. Bethune died at Florence. His remains were taken to New York, and buried in Greenwood Cemetery. This hymn, in compliance with a request made by him before his death, was sung at his funeral. It is found in several English hymnals.

-John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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