The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Sleepers, Wake! the Watch- Cry Pealeth

For Advent

Words: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608), 1599
Trans. Hymns Ancient & Modern,
Based on that by Frances Elizabeth Cox, 1864

Inspired by the Parable of the Ten Virgins: Matthew 25: 1-13
Includes notes and a listing of some of the many hymns and carols inspired by this Parable.

Music: "Nach," Hans Sachs (1494-1576),
adapted by Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608)
arr. and harm. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: Irr.

1. "Sleepers, wake!" the watch cry pealeth,
while slumber deep each eyelid sealeth:
Awake, Jerusalem, awake!
Midnight's solemn hour is tolling,
and seraph-notes are onward rolling;
They call on us our part to take.
Come forth, ye virgins wise:
the Bridegroom comes, arise!
Alleluia!
Each lamp be bright
with ready light
to grace the marriage feast tonight.

2. Zion hears the voice that singeth
with sudden joy her glad heart springeth,
at once she wakes, she stands arrayed:
her Light is come, her Star ascending,
lo, girt with truth, with mercy blending,
her Bridegroom there, so long delayed.
All hail! God's glorious Son,
all hail! our joy and crown,
Alleluia!
The joyful call
we answer all,
and follow to the bridal hall.

3. Praise to him who goes before us!
Let men and angels join in chorus,
let harp and cymbal add their sound.
Twelve the gates, a pearl each portal:
we haste to join the choir immortal
within the Holy City's bound.
Ear ne'er heard aught like this,
nor heart conceived such bliss.
Alleluia!
We raise the song,
we swell the throng,
to praise thee ages all along.

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