The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Up! Awake! From Highest Steeple

For Advent

Words: Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme, Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608),
Translated by Rev. George R. Woodward (1848-1934)

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.

Source: George Radcliffe Woodward, ed., Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), #5

1. Up! awake! from highest steeple
The watchmen cry, Awake, ye people;
O Salem, from thy slumber rise! —
Hear those clarion-voices knelling,
The hour of midnight loud forth-telling;
Say, where are ye, O Virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes; awake!
Up! lamp and lantern take;
Alleluya!
With ready light ye must to-night
Go forth to join the marriage-rite.

2. Syon hears the watchmen sounding,
Her heart with deep delight is bounding;
Anon she wakes; away she wends:
Comes her Spouse from heav’n, all glorious,
In grace almight, in truth victorious;
Her light doth shine, her star ascends.
Jesu, our peerless Crown,
Strong Son of God, come down!
Alleluya!
Fain will we all obey thy call,
And follow to the bridal-hall.

3. Glory unto thee in heaven
By men and Angel-tongues be given,
With harp and cymbal’s thrilling tone;
Syon hath twelve pearly portals,
Wherein, with Angel-quire, we mortals
On high may stand around thy throne:
Eye ne’er saw aught like this;
Ear ne’er heard tell such bliss;
Alleluya
And we therefore will thee adore,
And hymn thy praises evermore.

Note: The text on which it is based is the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 1 13, and other scriptural passages. For a list of translations, see "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme."

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