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188
HYMNS


Belgium, and pastor in Holstein, have been thought worthy of a place in Archbishop Trencl1's selection. Two by W. Petersen (printed at the end of Haberkorn's supplement to acobi's Psalmodia Germanica) are good in different ways-one, “ esu dulcis amor rneus " ( Jesus, Thee my soul doth love '), being a gentle melody of spiritual devotion, and the other, entitled Spe: Sionis, violently controversial against Rome. An English hymn of the 17th century, in the Ambrosian style, “ Te Deum Patrem colimus " (“ Almighty Father, just and good ), is sung on every May-Day morning by the choristers of Magdalen College, Oxford, from the top of the tower of their chapel; and another In the style of the Renaissance, of about the same date, " Te de profundis, summe Rex " (“ Thee from the depths, Almighty King), long formed part of a grace formerly sung by the scholars of Winchester College.

5. German Hymnody.-Luther was a proficient in and a lover of music. He desired (as he says in the preface to his hymn-book Luth” of 1545) that this “ beautiful ornament ” might “ in a right manner serve the great Creator and His Christian people.” The persecuted Bohemian or Hussite Church, then settled on the borders of Moravia under the name of “ United Brethren, ” had sent to him, on a mission in IS22, Michael Weiss, who not long afterwards published a number of German translations from old Bohemian hymns (known as those of the “ Bohemian Brethren ”), with some of his own. These Luther highly approved and recommended. He himself, in 1522, published a small volume of eight hymns, which was enlarged to 63 in 1527, and to 125 in 1545. He had formed what he called a “ house choir ” of musical friends, to select such old and popular tunes (whether secular or ecclesiastical) as might be found suitable, and to compose new melodies, for church use. His fellow labourers in this field (besides Weiss) were Iustus Jonas, his own especial colleague; Paul Eber, the disciple and friend of Melanchthon; John Walther, choirmaster successively to several German princes, and professor of arts, &c., at Wittenberg; Nicholas Decius, who from a monk became a Protestant teacher in Brunswick, and translated the “ Gloria in Excelsis, ” &c.; and Paul Speratus, chaplain to Duke Albert of Prussia in 1525. Some of their works are still popular in Germany. Weiss's “ Funeral Hymn, ” “ Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben ” (“ Now lay we calmly in the grave ”); Eber's “ Herr ]esu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott ” (“ Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God ”), and “ Wenn wir in hochsten Nothen sein ” (“ When in the hour of utmost need ”); Walther's “ New Heavens and new Earth ” (“ Now fain my joyous heart would sing ”); Decius's “ To God on high be thanks and praise ”; and Speratus's " Salvation now has come for all, ” are among those which at the time produced the greatest effect, and are still best remembered.

Luther's own hymns, thirty-seven in number (of which about twelve are translations or adaptations from Latin originals), are for the principal Christian seasons; on the sacraments, the church, grace, death, &c.; and paraphrases of seven psalms, of a passage in Isaiah, and of the Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments, Creed, Litany and “ Te Deum.” There is also a very touching and stirring song on the martyrdom of two youths by fire at Brussels, in 1523-1524. Homely and sometimes rugged in form, and for the most part objective in tone, they are full of fire, manly simplicity and strong faith. Three rise above the rest. One for Christmas, “ Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her” (“ From Heaven above to earth I come ”), has a reverent tenderness, the influence of which may be traced in many later productions on the same subject. That on salvation through Christ, of a didactic character, “ Nun freuet euch, lieben Christen g'mein ” (“ Dear Christian people, now rejoice ”), is said to have made many conversions, and to have been once taken up by a large congregation to silence a Roman Catholic preacher in the cathedral of Frankfort. Pre-eminent above all is the celebrated paraphrase of the 46th Psalm: “ Ein' feste Burg 1st unser Gott ” (“ A sure stronghold our God is He ”)“ the production ” (as Ranke says) “ of the moment in which Luther, engaged in a conflict with a world of foes, sought strength in the consciousness that he was defending a divine cause which could never perish.” Carlyle compares it to “ a sound of Alpine avalanches, or the first murmur of earthquakes.” Heine called it “ the Marseillaise of the Reformation.”

Luther spent several years in teaching his people at Wittenberg to sing these hymns, which soon spread over Germany. Without adopting the hyperbolical saying of Coleridge, that “ Luther did as much for the Reformation by his hymns as by his translation of the Bible, ” it may truly be affirmed that, among the secondary means by which the success of the Reformation was promoted, none was more powerful. They were sung everywhere—in the streets and fields as well as the churches, in the workshop and the palace, “ by children in the cottage and by martyrs on the scaffold.” It was by them that a congregational character was given to the new Protestant worship. This success they owed partly to their metrical structure, which, though sometimes complex, was recommended to the people by its ease and variety; and partly to the tunes and melodies (many of them already well known and popular) to which they were set. They were used as direct instruments of teaching, and were therefore, in a large measure, didactic and theological; and it may be partly owing to this cause that German hymnody came to deviate, so soon and so generally as it did, from the simple idea expressed in the ancient Augustinian definition, and to comprehend large classes of compositions which, in most other countries, would be thought hardly suitable for church use. The principal hymn-writers of the Lutheran school, in the latter part of the 16th century, were Nikolaus Selnecker, Herman and Hans Sachs, the shoemaker of Nuremberg, also known in other branches of literature. All these wrote some good hymns. They were succeeded by men of another sort, to whom F. A. Cunz gives the name of “ master-singers, ” as having raised both the poetical and the musical standard of German hymnody:-Bartholomaus Ringwaldt, LudwigHelrnbold, Johannes Pappus, Martin Schalling, Rutilius and Sigismund Weingartner. The principal topics of their hymns (as if with some foretaste of the calamities which were soon to follow) were the vanity of earthly things, resignation to the Divine will, and preparation for death and judgment. The well-known English hymn, “ Great God, what do I see and hear, ” is founded upon one by Ringwaldt. Of a quite different character were two of great beauty and universal popularity, composed by Philip N icolai, a Westphalian pastor, during a pestilence in 1597, and published by him, with fine chorales, two years afterwards. One of these (the “ Sleepers wake! a voice is calling, ” of Mendelssohn's oratorio, St Paul) belongs to the family of Advent or New Jerusalem hymns. The other, a “ Song of the believing soul concerning the Heavenly Bridegroom ” (“ Wie schon leucht't uns der Morgenstern ”-“ O morning Star, how fair and bright ”), became the favourite marriage hymn of Germany.

The hymns produced during the Thirty Years' War are characteristic of that unhappy time, which (as Miss Winkworth says) “ caused religious men to look away from this world, ” perm, 0, and made their songs more and more expressive of Thirty personal feelings. In point of refinement and graces Yeafs of style, the hymn-writers of this period excelled war their predecessors. Their taste was chiefly formed by the influence of Martin Opitz, the founderiof what has been called the “ first Silesian school ” of German poetry, who died comparatively young in 1639, and who, though not of any great original genius, exercised much power as a critic. Some of the best of these works were by men who wrote little. In the famous battle-song of Gustavus Adolphus, published (1631) after the victory of Breitenfeld, for the use of his army, “ Verzage nicht du Hauflein klein ” (“ Fear not, O little Heck, the foe ”), we have; almost certainly a composition of the hero-king himself, the versification corrected by his chaplain Jakob F abricius (1 5Q3“ 1654) and the music composed by Michael Altenburg, whose name has been given to the hymn. This, with Luther's paraphrase of the 67th Psalm, was sung by Gustavus and his soldiers before the battle of Liitzen in 1632. Two very fine hymns, one of prayer for deliverance and peace, the other of trust in God under calamities, were written about the same time by Matthaus Lowenstern, a saddler's son, poet, musician and

statesman, who was ennobled after the peace by the emperor