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Nun ruhen alle Wälder

Full Text

1. Nun ruhen alle wälder,
Vieh, menschen, städt' und felder,
Es schläft die ganze welt;
Ihr aber, meine sinnen,
Auf! auf! ihr sollt beginnen,
Was eurem Schöpfer wohlgefällt.

2. Wo bist du sonne blieben?
Die nacht hat dich vertrieben,
Die nacht, des tages feind.
Fahr' hin! ein' andre sonne,
Mein Jesus, meine wonne,
Gar hell in meinem herzen scheint.

3. Der tag ist nun vergangen,
Die güldnen sternlein prangen
Am blauen himmelssaal;
So, so werd' ich auch stehen,
Wenn mich wird heißen gehen
Mein Gott aus diesem jammerthal.

4. Der leib eilt nun zur ruhe,
Legt ab das kleid und schuhe,
Das bild der sterblichkeit,
Die zieh ich aus, dagegen
Wird Christus mir anlegen
Den rock der ehr' und herrlichkeit.

5. Das haupt, die füß' und hände
Sind froh, daß nun zum ende
Die arbeit kommen sei;
Herz, freu' dich, du sollt werden
Vom elend dieser erden,
Und von der sündenarbeit frei.

6. Nun geht, ihr matten glieder,
Geht hin und legt euch nieder,
Der betten ihr begehrt.
Es kommen stund' und zeiten,
Da man euch wird bereiten,
Zur ruh' ein bettlein in der erd'.

7. Mein' augen stehn verdrossen,
Im hui sind sie geschlossen,
Wo bleibt denn leib und seel'?
Nimm sie zu deinen gnaden,
Sei gut für allen schaden,
Du aug' und wächter Israel.

8. Breit' aus die flügel beide,
O Jesu! meine freude,
Und nimm dein küchlein ein.
Will satan mich verschlingen,
So laß die englein singen:
Dies kind soll unverletzet sein.

9. Auch euch, ihr meine lieben!
Soll heinte nicht etrüben
Ein unfall noch gefahr.
Gott laß' euch selig schlafen,
Stell' euch die güldnen waffen
Um's bett und seiner helden schaar.

Source: Kirchen-Gesangbuch: für Evangelisch-Lutherische Gemeinden #319

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Gerhardt, Paulus, son of Christian Gerhardt, burgomaster of Gräfenhaynichen, near Wittenberg, was born at Grafenhaynichen, Mar. 12, 1607. On January 2, 1628, he matriculated at the University of Wittenberg. In the registers of St. Mary's church, Wittenberg, his name appears as a godfather, on July 13, 1641, described still as "studiosus," and he seems to have remained in Wittenberg till at least the end of April, 1642. He appears to have gone to Berlin in 1642 or 1643, and was there for some time (certainly after 1648) a tutor in the house of the advocate Andreas Barthold, whose daughter (Anna Maria, b. May 19, 1622, d. March 5, 1668) became his wife in 1655. During this period he seems to have frequently preached in Berlin. He was appoint… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Nun ruhen alle Wälder
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Place of Origin: Germany
Language: German


Nun ruhen alle Wälder. P. Gerhardt. [Evening.] First published in the 3rd edition, 1648, of Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, No. 15, in 9 stanzas of 6 lines: reprinted in Wackernagel's edition of his Geistliche Lieder, No. 102, and Bachmann's edition, No. 2; and included as No. 529 in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851. It is one of the finest of Gerhardt's hymns. Simple and homely in its style it took great hold of the hearts of the German people. Baron Bunsen (quoted by Fischer, ii. 126) says of it in the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, Berlin, 1830:—

"Ever since its publication this hymn has been one of the most beloved and best known hymns of devout medi¬tation over the whole of Germany. Experienced and conceived in a truly childlike popular spirit, it unites with a rare naive simplicity of expression, a loftiness of thought, a depth of Christian experience, a grace of poetry, so that for this union of qualities it must rank as an enduring masterpiece among hymns."

This hymn was a special favourite of Schiller's mother, and of the poet himself. In the time of Flat Rationalism stanza i. became the object of much shallow wit. But as Richter points out (Biog. Lexicon, 1804, p. 95), if to represent the earth as tired, and woods and trees as sleeping is not true poetry, then Virgil(Aeneid iv., 11. 522-28) was in the wrong. Stanza viii., "Breit aus die Flügel beide," has been a special favourite in Germany, and Lauxmann, in Koch viii. 194, says of it:—

"How many a Christian soul, children mostly, but also God's children in general, does this verse serve as their last evening prayer. It has often been the last prayer uttered on earth, and in many districts of Germany is used at the close of the baptismal service to commend the dear little ones to the protection of their Lord Jesus."

Although in limited use in a translated form in the English hymn-books, the translations are numerous, and are as follows:—
1. Quietly rest the woods and dales, omitting stanza viii., by Mrs. Findlater, in Hymns from the Land of Luther, 1st Ser., 1854, p. 36 (1884, p. 38), included in Cantate Domino, Boston, U.S., 1859.
2. Now all the woods are sleeping. A full and good translation by Miss Winkworth, in the 2nd edition 1856, of the 1st Ser. of her Lyra Germanica, 1855, p. 228 (see below for first version). Included in full in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, and the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal 1880; and abridged in Dr. W. F. Stevenson's Hymns for Church & Home, 1873.
3. Now woods their rest are keeping. A good translation of stanzas i., iii., vii., ix., contributed by Edward Thring, as No. 18 to the Uppingham and Sherborne School Hymn Book, 1874.

Other translations are: (1) "Jesu, our Joy and Loving Friend," of stanza viii., as No. 200 in the Appendix of 1743 to the Moravian Hymn Book, 1742. (2) "Now Woods and Fields are quiet," in the Supplement to German Psalter, edition 1765, p. 73. (3) "Display Thy both wings over," of stanza viii., as No. 156 in pt. i. of the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754. (4) "Jesus, our Guardian, Guide and Friend," of stanza viii. as No. 765 in the Moravian Hymn Book, 1789 (1886, No. 1190). (5) "Lo! Man and Beast are sleeping," by H. J. Buckoll, 1842, p. 76. (6) "Now rest beneath night's shadow," by E. D. Yeomans, in Schaff’s Kirchenfreund, 1853, p. 195. (7) "Now rest the woods again," by Miss Winkworth, 1855, p. 226 (see No. 2 above). (8) "Rise, my soul, thy vigil keep," by Miss Dunn, 1857, p. 9. (9) "Now resteth all creation," by J. S. Stallybrass, in the Tonic Solfa Reporter, January, 1859, and Curwen's Harmonium & Organ Book, 1863, p. 58. (10) "Now every greenwood sleepeth," by Miss Manington, 1863, p. 133. (11) "Now hushed are woods and waters," by Miss Cox, 1864, p. 9. (12) "Now spread are evening's shadows," by J. Kelly, 1863. (13) "The woods are hush'd; o'er town and plain," by Dr. J. Guthrie, 1869.

The hymn, "Tho' now no creature's sleeping," No. 356, in pt. ii. of the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754, is a translations of "Jetzt schlafen weder Wälder." This is No. 2338 in the final Zugabe to the Herrnhut Gesang-Buch, 1735. It is a parody in the "spiritual fleshy" style of stanzas i.-iii., vi., vii., of Gerhardt. It is marked as "On Aug. 13, 1748, after Holy Communion at Herrnhut." [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Nun ruhen alle Walder, p. 822, i. The translation "Now all the woods are sleeping," in the Hymns for the Use of Sherborne School, 1888, is Miss Winkworth's translation with four or five lines from E. Thring's translation of the same hymn. Both trs. are noted above.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)