O, weep not, mourn not o'er this bier

Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius

Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, "The Christian Pindar" was born in northern Spain, a magistrate whose religious convictions came late in life. His subsequent sacred poems were literary and personal, not, like those of St. Ambrose, designed for singing. Selections from them soon entered the Mozarabic rite, however, and have since remained exquisite treasures of the Western churches. His Cathemerinon liber, Peristephanon, and Psychomachia were among the most widely read books of the Middle Ages. A concordance to his works was published by the Medieval Academy of America in 1932. There is a considerable literature on his works. --The Hymnal 1940 Companion… Go to person page >

Translator (into English): Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Translator (into German): Nikolaus Herman

Herman, Nicolaus, is always associated with Joachimsthal in Bohemia, just over the mountains from Saxony. The town was not of importance till the mines began to be extensively worked about 1516. Whether Herman was a native of this place is not known, but he was apparently there in 1518, and was certainly in office there in 1524. For many years he held the post of Master in the Latin School, and Cantor or Organist and Choirmaster in the church. Towards the end of his life he suffered greatly from gout, and had to resign even his post as Cantor a number of years before his death. He died at Joachimsthal, May 3, 1561. (Koch, i. 390-398; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, xii. 186-188, &c.) He was a great friend and helper of J. Mathesius (q.v.)… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O, weep not, mourn not o'er this bier
Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius
Translator (into English): Catherine Winkworth
Translator (into German): Nikolaus Herman

Notes

Deus ignee fons animarum. A, C. Prudentins. [Burial of the Dead.] This beautiful poem, in 44 stanzas of 4 lines, is No. x. in his Cathemerinon, and may be found in all editions of his works, e.g. Deventer, 1490, Lond., 1824, &c. It is also in a manuscript of the 5th century, in the Bibl. Nat. Paris (8084, f. 32b), and in a Mozarabic Office Book of 11th century, in the British Museum (Add. 30851, f. 160). Its liturgical use has been limited, but in the Mozarabic Breviary (Toledo, 1502, f. 3136) it is given in the Office for the Dead. The full text is in Wackernagel, i., No. 40, and a part in Daniel, i., No. 115, pt ii. Translated as:— O weep not, mourn not o'er this bier. A good and full version by Miss Winkworth in the 1st ser. of her Lyra Germanica, 1855, p. 249. In her 2nd ed., 1856, p. 251, it is altered, and begins: "Now hush your cries, and shed no tear," and repeated thus in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 97. Also in Psalms & Hymns, Bedford, 1859, No. 269, and the Rugby School Hymn Book, 1866, No. 208. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
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