The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Why, Herod, Unrelenting Foe

Translation of "Was fürchtst du Feind Herodes sehr?" by Martin Luther

Words: "Hostis Herodis Impie" from "Paean Alphabeticus de Cristo," Sedulius
Translation and Adaptation by Martin Luther (1541) and Richard Massie (1854)

Harmony by M. Praetorius, 1609

1. Why, Herod, unrelenting foe,
Doth the Lord's coming move thee so?
He doth no earthly kingdom seek
Who brings his kingdom to the meek.

2. Led by the star, the wise men find
The Light that lightens all mankind;
The threefold presents which they bring
Declare him God, and Man, and King.

3. In Jordan's sacred waters stood
The meek and heavenly Lamb of God,
And he who did no sin, thereby
Cleansed us from all iniquity!

4. And now a miracle was done:
Six waterpots stood there of stone;
Christ spake the word with power divine,
The water reddened into wine.

5. All honor unto Christ be paid,
Pure offspring of the holy maid,
With Father and with Holy Ghost,
Till time in endless time be lost.

Source: "The Hymns of Martin Luther, Set To Their Original Melodies, With an English Version, " Edited by Leonard Woolsey Bacon, Assisted by Nathan H. Allen (Translator's Name Not Given). It was subsequently located in Richard Massie, Martin Luther's Spiritual Songs (London: Hatchard & Son, 1854), pp. 13-14.


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