The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hail To The Day ! So Rich In Joy

For Christmas

Words: Der Tag der ist so freudenreich,” a translation by Martin Luther of the Latin hymn Dies est lætitiæ

Translation of verses 2 and 1 by H. J. Fry

Source: Henrietta Joan Fry, Hymns of the Reformation by Dr. Martin Luther and others from the German. (London: Charles Gilpin, 1845), pp. 13-15.



Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wrath, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men—Matt. ii. 16.

...Hail to the day! so rich in joy,
.....That bids creation smile;
...From heaven the Son of God comes down,
.....And man, the while,
Beholds, with wonder-stricken eye,
This scene of strange delight and sacred mystery :
The Son of God from heaven descends,
And, born of Adam’s race, with man his being blends.

 ...The virgin’s blessed Son --
...That infant form so sweet,
...This day to us is born,
...Our hearts to greet,
And deeply to console us as we lie,
A people sunk in abject poverty :
Yes! if to us, this infant were not born,
Then were the race of Adam, all forlorn, --
Then all were lost,--
But now salvation comes, and Jesus is our boast.
Thou precious Saviour! through Thy birth
Do Thou redeem from hell, each prostrate child of earth!

 ...A band of shepherds on the plain,
......Good tidings heard ;
...To them angelic hosts announced
......The cheering word
...Which told them of their Saviour born --
......The incarnate Lord.
The King of Kings, who reigns o’er all,
Was subject then to Herod’s thrall:
His word went out, his envoys true,
He sought what earthly might could do ;
His thoughts devised each false pretence,
And that, against Omnipotence.
The babes of Bethlehem, slaughtered lay,
For Herod’s voice went forth -- his mandate none might stay.


Editor's Note:

Other translations of this German hymn include:

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