Scripture Verse

While they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with Him to the banquet. And the door was shut. Matthew 25:10


Philipp Nicolai

Words: Phi­lipp Ni­co­lai (Wach­et auf, ruft uns die Stim­me). The words may have been in­spired by a 1523 po­em by Nur­em­berg’s Meis­ter­sing­er Lu­ther­an po­et Hans Sachs (1494–1576). They were first pub­lished in Nic­o­lai’s Freu­den­spie­gel des ewig­en Leb­ens (Joy­ous Mir­ror of Eter­nal Life), 1599.

Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Ca­the­rine Wink­worth, Ly­ra Ger­ma­ni­ca, sec­ond series (Lon­don: Long­man, Brown, Green, Long­mans and Ro­berts, 1858), pag­es 225–26.

Music: Wach­et auf Phi­lipp Ni­co­lai. Har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach, 1731 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Johann S. Bach


Wake, awake, for night is flying,
The watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices,
And at the thrilling cry rejoices:
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past!
The Bridegroom comes, awake,
Your lamps with gladness take; Alleluia!
And for His marriage feast prepare
For ye must go and meet Him there.

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing,
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious,
Her star is ris’n, her light is come!
Ah come, Thou blessèd Lord,
O Jesus, Son of God, Alleluia!
We follow till the halls we see
Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee.

Now let all the heav’ns adore Thee,
And men and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where we are with the choir immortal
Of angels round Thy dazzling throne;
Nor eye hath seen, nor ear
Hath yet attained to hear
What there is ours,
But we rejoice, and sing to Thee
Our hymn of joy eternally.