Scripture Verse

I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star. Revelation 22:16


Philipp Nicolai

Words: Phi­lipp Ni­co­lai, 1597 (Wie schön leuch­tet der Mor­gen­stern). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Ca­the­rine Wink­worth, Cho­rale Book for Eng­land, 1863. Ni­co­lai was the pas­tor in Un­na, Ger­ma­ny, when the bu­bo­nic plague was ter­ror­iz­ing Eur­ope. Af­ter see­ing 30 graves dug in a sin­gle day, he felt com­pelled to write these words. They first ap­peared in his Freu­den­spie­gel des ewig­en Le­bens (Joy­ous Mir­ror of Eter­nal Life), 1599.

Music: Phi­lipp Ni­co­lai, 1599. Har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach, cir­ca 1731 (🔊 pdf nwc). The me­lo­dy is said to be from an old­er tune from Stras­bourg, cir­ca 1538.

Johann S. Bach


O morning star, how fair and bright!
Thou beamest forth in truth and light,
O Sovereign meek and lowly!
Thou root of Jesse, David’s Son,
My Lord and Master, Thou hast won
My heart to serve Thee solely!
Thou art holy,
Fair and glorious, all victorious, rich in blessing
Rule and might over all possessing.

Thou heavenly brightness! Light divine!
O deep within my heart now shine,
And make Thee there an altar!
Fill me with joy and strength to be
Thy member, ever, joined to Thee
In love that cannot falter;
Toward Thee longing
Doth possess me; turn and bless me;
Here in sadness
Eye and heart long for Thy gladness!