Sunday, July 08, 2018

Herzliebster Jesu, or, Ah, holy Jesus

The hymn “Herzliebster Jesu! du hast nichts verbrochen” was written byJohann Heermann in 1630, and translated into English by Robert Bridges (named poet laureate of England in 1913). The tune Herzliebster Jesu is by German composer Johann Crüger.

1. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

2. Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

3. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

4. For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

5. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

From The Messenger:
Johann Heermann took his inspiration for “Ah, Holy Jesus” from a Latin text attributed to either Augustine (354-430) or Jean de Fecamp (c.1000-1079). The poetry was originally published in a fifteenth-century devotional book entitled Meditationes sanctorum patrum. Heermann’s hymn version first appeared in his Devoti Musica Cordis, ca. 1630.
See also Congregational Singing, “Reason & Tools for Traditional Hymnody”.

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