Christian Joy in Death

My face, why should'st thou troubled be

Author: Paul Gerhardt; Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Published in 1 hymnal

Representative Text

My face, why should’st thou troubled be
When thou of death art hearing?
Know it, it cannot injure thee,
Contemplate it, ne’er fearing.
When thou dost know
Death, all its woe
Will soon be disappearing.

From the old serpent’s face first tear
The mask he is assuming,
And lo! no poison more is there,
’Tis harmless through the coming
Of Christ to save,
Who to the grave
Went down, death thus o’ercoming.

Thou, Lord, didst break our foe’s great pow’r,
His sting thus from him taking,
The butt of scorn he’s evermore,
No mischief can be making.
Thy precious blood
Damps his hot mood,
His ardour’s him forsaking.

’Twas sin that was the sting of death,
And on to dying drove us,
For ever done away sin hath
Our Saviour, who did love us.
Its pow’r and might
Is broken quite,
Though it to grief may move us.

Now sin is dead, God’s anger’s turn’d,
He’s reconcil’d; the Saviour
Hath borne the curse our debts had earn’d,
Restor’d us to God’s favour.
Who was our foe
Our friend is now,
Is full of grace for ever.

It cannot be, if Thou’rt my friend,
That Thou would’st kill me ever;
Thy Father’s heart can ne’er intend
To death me to deliver,
And who is e’er
Thy child and heir
By ill is injur’d never.

But Thou, O Father! doest well
When trials sore are grieving,
When misery the life doth fill,
The waves around us heaving,
That us Thy hand
To Fatherland
Brings, from the floods relieving.

When from the angry skies storms break,
And mountains quake before them,
The thunder of Thy wrath doth shake
The hills, and pealeth o’er them,
Then dost Thou come
And takest home
Thine own, Thou carest for them.

When rage around our enemies,
Our injury are seeking,
When lions, wolves, and bears arise,
Their vengeance on us wreaking,
Thou tak’st Thy sheep,
Dost safely keep
Them near Thee, comfort speaking.

And if the world treats evilly
Him who to Thee is cleaving,
Thou sayest, “Come to me, my son!
Come, from me be receiving
Love, pleasure, joy,
That never cloy,
That I for aye am giving.”

And angel hosts then joyfully
Descend, and round us hover,
And tend the soul so carefully;
And when life’s course is over
To God on high
It peacefully
Goes with them ’neath their cover.

The Lord His bride meets joyfully
And saith, “Now welcome ever,
I have espousèd thee to me,
To all mine own come hither!
Whom I ’fore thee
Have brought to me,
From yon world did deliver.

“Thou true and faithful wast in heart,
Wast ne’er asham’d to own me,
And now receivest thou thy part,
With crown of joy I crown thee.
Thy part am I,
Beside me I enthrone thee.

“Of thine eyes now I dry the flood,
Thy bitter tears am stilling;
Here turn’d is to thy highest good,
The grief thou once wert feeling;
Of thy grief’s sea
No one shall be
Here save with rapture telling.

“All my belov’d ones clothe I here
In pure white linen ever,
With joy in heaven they appear,
Here envy felt is never.
Here is no death,
No cross nor scath,
Good friends at all can sever.”

O God! why should the thought of death
With terror make me shiver?
’Tis he who’ll from the yoke beneath
Of mis’ry me deliver.
From torture He
Will set me free,
I can regret it never.

For death is the Red Sea to me,
Through which on dry land ever
Thine Israel, so dear to Thee,
Pass to the land of favour,
Where milk and wine
Flow ever in
Full streams that cease shall never.

It is heav’n’s golden door to me,
The fiery car God sendeth,
Wherein my spirit speedily
To th’ angel choir ascendeth,
When God shall say
“Thy working day
Of life below now endeth.”

O sweetest joy, O blessèd rest!
To all true-hearted given,
Come, let mine eyes by Thee be press’d,
In peace take me to heaven.
May I roam there
’Mong pastures fair
Where day ne’er knoweth even.

What fails us here, there will He give,
Full measure to us bringing,
Our grateful songs shall He receive,
From loving hearts up-springing.
And there shall I
Too, willingly
Song after song be singing.

Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs, 1867

Author: Paul Gerhardt

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 >

Text Information

First Line: My face, why should'st thou troubled be
Title: Christian Joy in Death
German Title: Was traurest du, mein Angesicht
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1929.


Instances (1 - 1 of 1)

Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs #70

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us