By the Bier of a Friend

On thy bier how calm thou'rt sleeping

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

Representative Text

On thy bier how calm thou’rt sleeping
Yet thou livest, oh our crown!
Watch eternal art thou keeping,
Standing near thy Saviour’s throne.
Endless joy thy portion now!
Why should tears so freely flow?
What should thus in sorrow sink us?
Up! aright let us bethink us!

Grudge we to our friends their pleasure;
When they laugh, we laugh again;
Bitter tears shed without measure,
When we see them sunk in pain.
When we see them conq’rors come,
From the cross triumphant home;
When is o’er life’s toil and anguish,
Then no more in grief we languish.

Noble heart! in peace now rest thee,
Thou hast vanquish’d every foe,
All afflictions that oppress’d thee,
Overwhelm’d thy heart with woe;
All the toil and misery,
All care and anxiety,
All that made thee sleep in sorrow,
Wake in anguish on the morrow.

God who sendeth all temptations,
Knows the burden each can bear;
He appoints all tribulations,
Who in loving, gracious care,
Sent thee every trial sore
That thou now hast triumphed o’er,
Who hath strength enough to bear it,
Must in larger measure share it.

Hadst thou been at heart a craven,
Shrinking from the chilly blast,
Loving most the quiet haven,
With no cloud the sky o’ercast,
God, the giver of all good,
Never such a grievous load
Of affliction had ordain’d thee,
As dishearten’d oft and pain’d thee.

Triumph now, for thou, victorious
By the pow’r of God most high,
Sonlike in thy strength so glorious,
Walk’st amid the Company
Of the city fair and new,
Which the Lord hath built for you;
With the angels join’st in singing,
Sweetest songs from heart up-springing.

Jesus bids thee cease from weeping
Wipes the tear-drop from thine eye;
Free thy heart from sorrow keeping
All thy need doth He supply.
In thy cup now running o’er
Wishest thou but one thing more,
That thy friends who here still wander
Were thy bliss now sharing yonder.

To the realms we’ll come so glorious,
Out of sorrow into joy;
Thee with myriad saints victorious
See in bliss without alloy.
Oh! how bless’d and fair ’twill be,
When we all shall dwell with Thee;
When is o’er life’s chequer’d story,
And we reign in endless glory.

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: On thy bier how calm thou'rt sleeping
Title: By the Bier of a Friend
German Title: Nun du lebest, unsre Krone
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Meter: 8.7.8.7.7.7.8.8
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.

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Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs #73

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