Sweetest Joy the soul can know

Representative Text

1. Sweetest joy the soul can know,
Fairest light was ever shed,
Who alike in joy or woe,
Leavest none unvisited;
Spirit of the Highest God,
Lord from whom is life bestowed,
Who upholdest everything,
Hear me, hear me, while I sing!

2. For the noblest gift Thou art
That a soul e’er sought or won,
Have I wished Thee to my heart,
Then my wishing all is done;
Ah then yield Thee, nor refuse
Here to dwell, for Thou didst choose
This my heart, from e’en its birth,
For Thy temple here on earth.

3. Thou art shed like gentlest showers
From the Father and the Son,
Bringest to this earth of ours
Purest blessing from their throne;
Suffer then, O noble Guest,
That rich gift by Thee possessed,
Which Thou givest at Thy will
All my soul and flesh to fill.

4. Thou art wise, before Thee stand
Hidden things unveiled to Thee,
Countest up the grains of sand,
Fathomest the deepest sea,
And Thou knowest well how blind,
Dark and crooked is my mind;
Give me wisdom, in Thy light
Let me please my God aright.

5. Thou art holy, enterest in
Where pure hearts Thy coming wait,
But Thou fleest shame and sin,
Craft and falsehood Thou dost hate;
Wash me then, O Well of grace,
Every stain and spot efface,
Let me flee what Thou dost flee,
Grant me what Thou lov’st to see.

6. Thou art loving, hatest strife,
As a lamb of patient mood,
Calm through all our restless life,
E’en to sinners kind and good;
Grant me too this noble mind,
To be calm and true and kind,
Loving every friend or foe,
Grieving none whom Thou dost know.

7. Well contented is my heart,
If but Thou reject me not;
If but Thou wilt ne’er depart,
I am blest whate’er my lot;
Thine for ever make me now,
And to Thee, my Lord, I vow
Here and yonder to employ
Every power for Thee with joy.

8. Be my help when danger’s nigh,
When I sink hold Thou me up,
Be my life when I must die,
In the grave be Thou my hope;
Bring me when I rise again
To the land that knows no pain,
Where Thy followers from Thy stream
Drink for ever joys supreme.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #6141

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Paul Gerhardt (b. GraEenhainichen, 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 re… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Sweetest Joy the soul can know
German Title: O du allersüsste Freude
Translator: Catherine Winkworth
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Language: English

Tune

ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR (Elvey)

George J. Elvey (PHH 48) composed ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR as a setting for James Montgomery's text "Hark! The Song of Jubilee," with which it was published in Edward H. Thorne's Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1858). The tune has been associated with Alford's text since publication of the hymn in th…

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The Cyber Hymnal #6141
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The Cyber Hymnal #6141

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