The Precious Seed of Weeping

Representative Text

1 The precious seed of weeping
To-day we sow once more,
The form of one now sleeping,
Whose pilgrimage is o'er.
Ah, death but safely lands him
Where we too would attain;
Our Father's voice demands him,
And death to him is gain.

2 He has what we are wanting,
He sees what we believe;
The sins on earth so haunting
Have there no power to grieve;
Safe in His Saviour's keeping
Who sent him calm release;
'Tis only we are weeping,
He dwells in perfect peace.

3 The crown of life he weareth.
He bears the shining palm,
The "Holy, holy," shareth,
And joins the angels' psalm;
But we poor pilgrims wander
Still through this land of woe,
Till we shall meet him yonder,
And all his joy shall know.

Source: Church Book: for the use of Evangelical Lutheran congregations #554

Author: Karl Johann Philipp Spitta

Spitta, Carl Johann Philipp, D.D., was born Aug. 1, 1801, at Hannover, where his father, Lebrecht Wilhelm Gottfried Spitta, was then living, as bookkeeper and teacher of the French language. In his eleventh year Spitta fell into a severe illness, which lasted for four years, and so threw him back that his mother (the father died in 1805) abandoned the idea of a professional career, and apprenticed him to a watchmaker. This occupation did not prove at all congenial to him, but he would not confess his dislike, and his family were ignorant of it till an old friend, who was trying to comfort him after the death of a younger brother, discovered his true feelings. The younger brother had been preparing for ordination, and so Carl was now invited… Go to person page >

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 >

Text Information

First Line: The precious seed of weeping
Title: The Precious Seed of Weeping
German Title: Am Grabe steh'n wir stille
Author: Karl Johann Philipp Spitta
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Am Grabe stehn wir stille. C. J. P. Spitta. [Burial of the Dead.] First published in Series i. of his Psalter und Harfe, Leipzig, 1833, p. 140 (ed. 1838, p. 155), in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, entitled "At the Grave." Taken by his colleague, Pastor Borchers, as the text of his oration at Spitta's funeral, Sunday, Oct. 1, 1859 (Münkel's Spitta, 1861, pp. 283-284). Included as No. 2918 in Knapp's Evangelischer Lieder-Schatz ed. 1850.
Translation in common use:—
The precious seed of weeping. An excellent translation, as No. 98, by Miss Winkworth in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. Thence, unaltered, as No. 236 in Allon's Supplemental Hymns, 1868, as No. 554 in the Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book, 1808, and as No. 1010 in the American Methodist Episcopal Hymnal, 1878.
Other translations are:—
(1.) ”Now weeping at the grave we stand," by Miss Winkworth, 1858, p. 118. (2.) "Beside the dark grave standing," by M. Massie, 1860, p. 138. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The tune HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN has been associated with Gerhardt's text ["O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"] since they were first published together in 1656. The tune's first association with a sacred text was its attachment in 1913 [sic: should read 1613] to Christoph Knoll's funeral text "Herzl…

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Instances (1 - 9 of 9)
TextPage Scan

Chorale Book for England, The #98

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Church Book #554

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Church Book #554

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Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church #1010

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Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church #1010

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Hymns of the Church Universal #484

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The Carol #68b

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The Clifton Chapel Collection of "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs" #1434

Unitarian Service Book, and Hymns for Church and Home. Abridged ed. #d419

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