BETA

The German Night Watchman’s Song.

From “ Souvenirs of a Summer in Germany .

[A few nights since I heard a man’s voice under the window
singing a few simple notes. An hour flew away, and the song
rose once more under the window. The singer proved to be the
watchman of the little town, and his Nacht-lied, or night song,
as it is beautifully called—a sort of hymn, each verse adapted to
the hour at which it is sung. There is something delightful in
this idea ; it is deeply characteristic of the spirit of natural reli-
gion which seems to pervade Germany, and the custom is primi-
tive and poetical to the greatest degree. What can be more touch-
ing than to hear the guardian of the silent village, as he walks his
nightly rounds, thus drawing a simple moral from the fleeting
hours ; and invoking for the sleeping inhabitants the protection
of that God who neither slumbers nor sleeps. The following is a
translation.]
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock1
The hour of eight, good sirs, has struck.2
Eight souls alone from death were kept,3
When God the earth with deluge swept4
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,5
Man wakes and watches all in vain.6
Lord ! through thine all-prevailing might7
Do thou vouchsafe us a good night !8
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock9
The hour of nine, good sirs, has struck.10
Nine lepers cleansed returned not,11
Be not thy blessings, man, forgot.12
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,13
Man wakes and watches all in vain.14
Lord, &c.15
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock16
The hour of ten, good sirs, has struck.17
Ten precepts show God’s holy will,18
Oh ! may we prove obedient still.19
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,20
Man wakes and watches all in vain.21
Lord, &c.22
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock23
The hour eleven, good sirs, has struck.24
Eleven apostles remained true,25
May we be like that faithful few !26
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,27
Man wakes and watches all in vain.28
Lord, &c.29
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock30
The hour of twelve, good sirs, has struck.31
Twelve is of time the boundary32
Man ! think upon eternity.33
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,34
Man wakes and watches all in vain.35
Lord, &c.36
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock37
The hour of one, good sirs, has struck.38
One God alone reigns over all ;39
Nought can without his will befall.40
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,41
Man wakes and watches all in vain.42
Lord, &c.43
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock44
The hour of two, good sirs, has struck.45
Two ways has man to walk been given,46
Teach me the right—the path to heav’n.47
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,48
Man wakes and watches all in vain.49
Lord, &c.50
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock51
The hour of three, good sirs, has struck.52
Three Gods in one—exalted most,53
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.54
Unless the Lord to guard us deign,55
Man wakes and watches all in vain.56
Lord, &c.57
Hark, while I sing ! our village clock58
The hour of four, good sirs, has struck.59
Four seasons crown the farmer’s care,60
Thy heart with equal toil prepare61
Up—up—awake ! nor slumber on,62
The morn approaches, night is gone !63
Thank God, who, by his power and might,64
Has watched and kept us through this night !65