Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
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Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
 
From Heaven High
By Martin Luther (1483–1546)
 
FROM heaven high I come to you,
And bring you tidings good and new.
So many tidings good I bring,
Thereof I want to say and sing:
 
For you to-day is born a child,        5
E’en from a chosen virgin mild,
A child so fair and fine a sight,
To be your joy and your delight.
 
’Tis our Lord Christ and He will lead
You out of danger, out of need;        10
Your Saviour He Himself will be,
From all your sins to make you free.
 
He comes with all the blessings fraught
That He from God on high has brought;
With us in heaven you shall stay,        15
Now and forever and a day.
 
Now mark the signs: the manger old,
The swaddling-clothes so plain! Behold:
There lies the child in lowly state,
Who lights the world and bears its weight.        20
 
Mark well, my heart, and open, eyes:
See what in yonder manger lies!
Whose is this lovely infant here?
It is the little Jesus dear.
 
I welcome Thee, my noble guest,        25
Who to the sinner givest rest.
Thou camest here in misery.
Oh, let me thank Thee ardently!
 
Creator, Lord, of all things known,
How poor and lowly art thou grown,        30
That Thou on hay and straw must lie,
With mules and cattle feeding by!
 
And should the world still greater be,
And gleam with jewels gorgeously,
Yet it would be far, far too small        35
To be Thy cradle, Lord, at all.
 
Thy velvet and Thy silk display
Is swaddling-clothes and coarsest hay;
And there, O King so rich and great,
As if in Heaven, Thou dwellst in state.        40
 
I know right well it pleases Thee
To show Thy saving truth to me,
How worldly honour, goods and might
Are all as nothing in Thy sight.
 
Heart’s dearest Jesus, with Thy grace,        45
Make Thee a smooth, white resting-place
Which deep within my heart shall be,
That I may e’er remember Thee,
 
That I a merry heart may keep,
And ever freely sing and leap,        50
Aye, sing a lovely lullaby,
With dulcet voice and spirits high.
 
Praise be to God upon His throne,
Who gave to us His son, His own.
Rejoicing soars the angel throng,        55
And greets the New Year with its song.
 
 
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