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 (1556–1608)

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 (1685–1750)


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.