The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern

Words: Philipp Nicolai, 1597
Compare: Die Könige

Music: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, Philip Nicolai, 1599.
The melody is said to be from an older tune from Strasbourg, circa 1538.
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: 887 887 48 48

1. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Voll Gnad und Wahrheit von dem Herrn,
Die süße Wurzel Jesse!
Du Sohn Davids aus Jakobs Stamm,
Mein König und mein Bräutigam,
Hast mir mein Herz besessen,
Lieblich, freundlich,
Schön und herrlich, groß und ehrlich,
Reich von Gaben,
Hoch und sehr prächtig erhaben!

2. Ei meine Perl', du werte Kron,
Wahr' Gottes und Mariens Sohn,
Ein hochgeborner König!
Mein Herz heißt dich ein Himmelsblum;
Dein süßes Evangelium
Ist lauter Milch und Honig.
Ei mein Blümlein,
Hosianna! Himmlisch Manna,
Das wir essen,
Deiner kann ich nicht vergessen!

3. Geuß sehr tief in das Herz hinein,
Du leuchtend Kleinod, edler Stein,
Mit deiner Liebe Flamme,
Daß ich, o Herr, ein Gliedmaß bleib
An deinem auserwählten Leib,
Ein Zweig an deinem Stamme.
Nach dir wallt mir,
Mei Gemüte,
Ewig Güte, bis es findet
Dich, des Liebe mich entzündet.

4. Von Gott kommt mir ein Freudenschein,
Wenn du mich mit den Augen dein
Gar freundlich tust anblicken.
O Herr Jesu, mein trautes Gut,
Dein Wort, dein Geist, dein Leib und Blut
Mich innerlich erquicken.
Nimm mich freundlich
In dein Arme, Herr erbarme
Dich in Gnaden;
Auf dein Wort komm ich geladen.

5. Herr Gott Vater, mein starker Held,
Du hast mich ewig vor der Welt
In deinem Sohn geliebet.
Dein Sohn hat mich ihm selbst vertraut,
Er ist mein Schatz, ich seine Braut,
Drum mich auch nichts betrübet.
Eia, eia,
Himmlisch Leben wird er geben
Mir dort oben!
Ewig soll mein Herz ihn loben.

6. Zwingt die Saiten in Cythara
Und laßt die süße Musika
Ganz freudenreich erschallen,
Daß ich möge mit Jesulein,
Dem wunderschönen Bräutgam mein,
In steter Liebe wallen!
Singet, springet,
Jubilieret, triumphieret,
Dankt dem Herren;
Groß ist der König der Ehren!

7. Wie bin ich doch so herzlich froh,
Daß mein Schatz ist das A und O.
Der Anfang und das Ende.
Er wird mich doch zu seinem Preis
Aufnehmen in das Paradeis;
Des klopf ich in die Hände.
Amen, Amen,
Komm, du schöne Freudenkrone,
Bleib nicht lange,
Deiner wart' ich mit Verlangen.

English Translations:

John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1892, 1907) provides this list of translations, both those in common use and those that appear less frequently.

1. How Bright Appears The Morning Star. This is a full and fairly close version by J. C. Jacobi, in his Psalter Germanica, 1722, p. 90 (1732, p. 162); repeated, with alterations, in the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754, pt. i., No. 317 (1886, No. 360).

2. How graciously doth shine afar. By A. T. Russell, as No. 8 in the Dalston Hospital Hymn Book, 1848, and repeated in the Cheltenham College Hymn Book, No. 37. It is a free translation of st. i., vi., v.

3. How Lovely Shines the Morning Star. A good and full translation by Dr. H. Harbaugh (from the text in Dr. Schaff’s Deutsches Gesang-Buch, 1860), in the German Reformed Guardian, May, 1860, p. 157. Repeated in full in Schaff's Christ in Song, 1869, and abridged in Adams's Church Pastorals, Boston, U.S.A., 1864.

4. O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright. A somewhat free translation of st. i., iii., iv., vii., by Miss Winkworth, as No.149 in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. Repeated in the Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book, 1868; Ohio Lutheran Hymnal,1880, &c.

5. How Brightly Shines the Morning Star, In truth and mercy from afar. A translation of st. i., iii., iv., vii., by Miss Borthwick, as No. 239 in Dr. Pagenstecher's Collection, 1864.

6. How Brightly Glows the Morning-Star. In full, from Knapp's German recast, by M. W. Stryker, in his Hymns & Verses, 1883, p. 52; repeated, omitting st. ii., iv., in his Christian Chorals, 1885, No. 145.

7. How Fairly Shines The Morning Star. In Lyra Davidica, 1708, p. 40.

8. As Bright The Star of Morning Gleams (stanza i.) By W. Bartholomew, in his book of words to Mendelssohn's oratorio of Christus, 1852, p. 11.

9. How Lovely Now The Morning Star, Miss Cox (Hymns from the German. Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged. (London: Rivingtons, 1864), pp. 229-235). Compare: How Lovely Now The Morning Star, attributed to Miss Cox in Hopkins, Carols, Hymns and Songs, 1864, p. 132.

10. How beauteous shines the Morning Star. By Miss Burlingham, in the British Herald, Oct. 1865, p. 152, and Reid's Praise Book, 1872.

11. How Brightly Beams the Morning Star. By Miss Winkworth, 1869, p. 160.

12. How Bright Appears Our Morning Star. By J. H. Hopkins, in his Carols, Hymns and Songs, 3rd ed., 1882, p. 168, and dated 1866.

13. Behold! How Glorious Is Yon Sky. (see p. 127, ii.).

14. How Beautiful The Morning Star. By Philip Pusey. The original versions are not available at this time. This is the altered version from Kennedy, Hymnologia Christiana, 1863. Also available is the "considerably altered" version from the Sarum Hymnal: How Beautiful The Morning Star

15. How brightly shines the Morning Star! What eye descries it from afar, translation by John M. Sloan. The following is based in part on notes by Rev. James Mearns in John Julian, The Dictionary of Hymnology, p. 1010.

Johann Adolf Schlegel, DD. Born Sept. 17, 1721. Pastor, Professor of Theology and Metaphysics, and a prolific writer, publishing many volumes of sermons and numerous hymns, often re-writes of earlier hymns, which were very popular during his lifetime. He died of fever Sept. 16, 1793.

One of his hymns was Wie herrlich strahlt der Morgenstern, “Love to Christ,” a re-casting of Philip Nicoli's great hymn Wei schön leuchtet der Morgenstern. It was published in Zollikofer's G. B. Leipzig, 1755, and in the Hamburg G.B., 1842. Two popular translations are Winkworth's “How Brightly Beams the Morning Star,” and John M. Sloan's “How Brightly shines the Morning Star! What eye describes it from afar.”

Sloan's first translation was published in J. H. Wilson's Service of Praise, 1865, No. 282, and, omitting stanzas 3 and 4, in Wilson's Songs of Zion, 1787. He recast the translations of stanzas 1, 2, 5, and 6 as “How Brightly Shines the Morning Star / What ray divine streams from afar" for the Free Church Hymn Book, #328, pp. 299-300, 1882, and in Church Praise, 1883. In Laudes Domini, NY, 1884, the text of 1882 is given with the added stanza, “Rejoice ye heavens,” from Mercer's variation of Jacobi's translation From Nicoli.

Unfortunately, neither of Wilson's hymnals have yet been scanned and published to either Google Books or the Internet Archive.

Additional English Translations include:

The tune has been used with a large number of other lyrics. Keyte and Parrott wrote that it is also a favorite among bell towers and carrions in Europe. Lyrics are frequently altered by hymnal editors, as is the common practice.

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