Wherefore dost Thou longer tarry,
Blessed of the Lord, afar?
Whoud it were Thy will to enter
To my heart, O Thou my Star,
Thou my Jesus, Fount of pow'r,
Helper in the needful hour!
Sharpest wounds my heart is feeling,
Touch them, Saviour, with Thy healing!
For I shrink beneath the terrors
Of the law's tremendous sway;
All my countless crimes and errors
Stand before me night and day.
Oh the heavy, fearful load
Of the righteous wrath of God!
Oh the awful voice of thunder
Cleaving heart and soul asunder!
Would I then, to soothe my sorrow,
And my pain awhile forget,
From the world a comfort borrow,
I but sink the deeper yet,
She hath comforts that but grieve,
Joys that stinging memories leave,
Helpers that my heart are breaking,
Friends that do but mock its aching.
All delight, all consolation
Lies in Thee, Lord Jesus Christ,
Feed my soul with Thy salvation,
O Thou Bread of Life unpric'd.
Blessed Light, within me glow,
Ere my heart breaks in its woe;
Oh refresh me and uphold me,
Jesu, come, let me behold Thee.
Joy, my soul, for He hath heard thee,
He will come and enter in;
Lo! He turns and draweth toward thee,
Let thy welcome-song begin!
Oh prepare thee for such guest,
Give thee wholly to thy rest,
With an open'd heart adore Him,
Pour thy griefs and fears before Him.
What would seem to hurt or shame thee
Shall but work thy good at last;
Since that Christ hath deign'd to claim thee,
And His truth stands ever fast;
And if thine can but endure,
There is nought so fixed and sure,
As that thou shalt hymn His praises
In the happy heavenly places.
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 >
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 >