1 Out of the depths to Thee I raise
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me,
And hear my supplication.
If Thou shouldst count our every sin,
Each evil deed or thought within,
O who could stand before Thee?
2 To wash away the crimson stain
Grace, grace alone prevaileth.
Our works, alas! are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth.
For none can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might
And live alone by mercy.
3 Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit.
On God my soul shall rest; God's work
Upholds my fainting spirit.
God's promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort, and my strong support;
I wait for it with patience.
4 What though I wait the live-long night,
And till the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in God's might;
It doubteth not nor feareth:
So let the Israelites in heart,
Born of the Spirit, do their part,
And wait till God appeareth.
Source: The Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #240
Aus tiefer Woth schrei ich zu dir. Martin Luther. [Ps. cxxx.] This beautiful, though free, version of Ps. cxxx. was written in 1523. Ps. cxxx. was a great favourite with Luther, one of those he called Pauline Psalms —the others being Ps. xxxii., li., and cxliii. With its versification he took special pains, and the final result ranks with the finest of German Psalm versions. It first appeared in 4 stanzas of 7 lines in Etlich cristlich lider, Wittenberg, 1524, and in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. The form now in use considerably altered, and with stanza ii. rewritten as ii., iii., appeared in the Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn, Wittenberg, 1524, in 5 stanzas was included as No. 1 in Luther's Christliche Geseng zum Begrebnis, Wittenberg, 1542, and since in almost all German hymn-books, as recently in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 362. Both forms are included in Wackernagel’s D. Kirchenlied, iii. pp. 7-8, and in Schircks's ed. of Luther's Geistliche Lieder, 1854, pp. 66-68.
The fine melody (in the Irish Church Hymnal called De profundis; elsewhere, Luther's 130th, &c.) is possibly by Luther, and first appeared, with the 5 stanza form, in 1524.
The hymn was sung, May 9, 1525, at the funeral of the Elector Friedrich the Wise in the Court church at Wittenberg; by the weeping multitude at Halle when, on Feb. 20, 1546, Luther's body was being taken to its last resting-place at Wittenberg; and again as the last hymn in the Cathedral at Strasburg before the city was captured by the French in 1681. Stanza v. comforted the last hours of Christian, Elector of Saxony, 1591, of Johann Georg L, Elector of Saxony, 1656, and of King Friedrich I. of Prussia, 1723 (Koch, viii. 211-216).
Translations in common use:—
5. From depths of woe I raise to Thee. Good and full by R. Massie in his M. Luther's Spiritual Songs, 1854, p. 73. Thence unaltered as No. 64 in the 1857 edition of Mercer's Church Psalm & Hymn Book (Ox. ed., 1864, No. 150), and since in the Scottish Hymnal, 1870, the Scottish Presbyterian Hymnal, 1876 (omitting stanza iv,), and the Canadian Presbyterian Hymn Book, 1880. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)