He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4
Words: Friedrich R. L. von Canitz, 1700 (Seele du musst munter werden). Translated from German to English by Henry J. Buckoll, 1836 or 1838. Thomas Arnold (1795–1842) is also said to have produced a translation in 1836.
Catherine Winkworth translated von Canitz’ lyrics as Come My Soul, Awake, ’Tis Morning, in her Lyra Germanica, 1855. Another translation appeared in the British Magazine, July 1838.
Dr. Thomas Arnold said of von Canitz:
Some may know the story of that German nobleman whose life had been distinguished alike by genius and worldly distinction, and by Christian holiness; and who, in the last morning of his life, when the dawn broke into his sick chamber, prayed that he might be supported to the window, and might look once again upon the rising sun.
After looking steadily at it for some time, he cried out,
Oh! if the appearance of this earthly and created thing is so beautiful and quickening, how much more shall I be enraptured at the sight of the unspeakable glory of the Creator Himself.
That was the feeling of a man whose sense of earthly beauty had all the keenness of a poet’s enthusiasm, but who, withal, had in his greatest health and vigour preserved the consciousness that his life was hid with Christ in God; that the things seen, how beautiful soever, were as nothing to the things which are not seen.
Come, my soul, thou must be waking;
Now is breaking over the earth another day;
Come to Him who made this splendor;
See thou render all thy feeble powers can pay.
Thou, too, hail the light returning
Ready burning be the incense of thy powers;
For the night is safely ended,
God hath tended with His care thy helpless hours.
Pray that He may prosper ever
Each endeavor when thine aim is good and true;
But that He may ever thwart thee,
And convert thee, when thou evil wouldst pursue.
Think that He thy ways beholdeth;
He unfoldeth every fault that lurks within;
He the hidden shame glossed over
Can discover, and discern each deed of sin.
Mayest thou on life’s last morrow,
Free from sorrow, pass away in slumber sweet:
And, released from death’s dark sadness,
Rise in gladness that far brighter sun to greet.
Only God’s free gifts abuse not,
Light refuse not, but His Spirit’s voice obey;
Thou with Him shalt dwell, beholding
Light enfolding all things in unclouded day.