O Princely Child from David’s Stem

by Philip von Zesen
translated by Aaron Jensen

Philip von Zesen (1619-1689) was a very influential German writer and poet. The son of a Lutheran pastor, many of his writings contain references to Christianity. This hymn, which specifically describes the joy of Jesus’ coming at Christmas, is set to the melody “Wie Schön Leuchtet” (CW 79).

O Princely Child from David’s Stem
O Fürstenkind aus Davids Stamm (KELG133)

O Princely Child from David’s Stem,
My Life, my Comfort, and my Friend,
My Soul’s Bridegroom and Savior,
I should thank You eternally
That You draw near in poverty--
What could I give You ever?
We know
No woe,
Joyful always
Sing we God’s praise,
Sadness waning,
For the Prince of Peace is reigning.

I myself full of gladness live--
I know not what I ought to give
The chosen child from above.
Take for Yourself, O Child most kind,
Take now my courage, heart, and mind.
Ignite my soul with Your love.
And be
In me
Sealed securely
That I surely
Ne’er replace You,
But in love ever embrace You.

Stay, Priceless Treasure, Jewel most bright,
Stay with me, O my heart’s Delight,
The Hope of all the weary.
Dew from Heaven, O make me grow.
O Wondrous Manna, Yourself show
To outcasts poor and dreary.
Keep bright
Your Light
On the earth here
As in Heav’n clear.
To those pining
Bring Your Word forever shining.