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Silent Night, Holy Night

Representative Text

ENGLISH -
1 Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

2 Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
heav’nly hosts sing, Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

3 Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

---

GERMAN -
1 Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht!
Alles schläft, einsam wacht,
nur das traute, hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
schlaf in himmlischer Ruh,
schlaf in himmlischer Ruh.

2 Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht,
durch der Engel Halleluja,
tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter, ist da,
Christ, der Retter, ist da!

3 Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht!
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’,
Christ, in deiner Geburt,
Christ, in deiner Geburt.

---

SPANISH -
1 ¡Noche de paz, noche de amor!
Todo duerme en derredor.
Entre los astros que esparcen su luz,
bella anunciando al niñito Jesús,
brilla la estrella de paz,
brilla la estrella de paz.

2 ¡Noche de paz, noche de amor!
Oye humilde el fiel pastor
coros celestes que anuncian salud,
gracias y glorias en gran plenitud,
por nuestro buen Redentor,
por nuestro buen Redentor.

3 ¡Noche de paz, noche de amor!
Ved qué bello resplandor
luce en el rostro del niño Jesús,
en el pesebre, del mundo la luz,
astro de eterno fulgor,
astro de eterno fulgor.

---

MANDARIN -
1 平安夜,圣善夜!
万暗中,光华射,
照着圣母也照着圣婴,
多少慈详也多少天真,
静享天赐安眠,
静享天赐安眠。

2 平安夜,圣善夜!
牧羊人,在旷野,
忽然看见了天上光华,
听见天军唱哈利路亚,
救主今夜降生,
救主今夜降生!

3 平安夜,圣善夜!
神子爱,光皎洁,
救赎宏恩的黎明来到,
圣容发出来荣光普照,
耶稣我主降生,
耶稣我主降生!

---

MANDARIN TRANSLITERATION -
1 píngānyè,shèngshànyè!
wànàn zhōng, guānghuá shè ,
zhào zhe shèngmǔ yě zhào zhe shèngyīng ,
duōshǎo cíxiáng yě duōshǎo tiānzhēn ,
jìngxiǎng tiāncì ānmián,
jìngxiǎng tiāncì ānmián.

2 píngānyè, shèngshànyè!
mùyángrén, zài kuàngyě,
hūrán kànjiàn le tianshàng guānghuá,
tīngjiàn tiānjūn chàng hālìlùyà,
jiùzhǔ jīnyè jiàngshēng,
jiùzhǔ jīnyè jiàngshēng!

3 píngānyè, shèngshànyè!
shénzǐ ài, guāngjiǎjié ,
jiùshú hóngēn de límíng láidào ,
shèngróng fāchū láiróng guāngpǔzhào ,
yēsū wǒ zhǔ jiàngshēng,
yēsū wǒ zhǔ jiàngshēng!


Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #337

Translator (Sts. 1, 3): J. Freeman Young

John Freeman Young (1820-1885) Born: Oc­to­ber 30, 1820, Pitts­ton, Maine. Died: No­vem­ber 15, 1885, New York Ci­ty. Buried: Old Ci­ty Cem­e­te­ry, Jack­son­ville, Flor­i­da. Young at­tend­ed Wes­ley­an Un­i­ver­si­ty, Mid­dle­town, Con­nec­ti­cut; Wes­ley­an Sem­in­a­ry, Read­field, Maine; and the Vir­gin­ia The­o­lo­gic­al Sem­in­ary, Al­ex­and­ria, Vir­gin­ia. Or­dained a Pro­test­ant Epis­co­pal min­is­ter, he served in Tex­as, Mis­sis­sip­pi, Lou­i­si­a­na, and New York, and be­came the se­cond bi­shop of Flor­i­da in 1867. His works in­clude: Carols for Christ­mas Tide (New York: Dan­i­el Da­na, Jr., 1859) Hymns and Mu­sic for the Young, 1860-61… Go to person page >

Translator (sts. 2, 4): Anonymous

In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries. Go to person page >

Author: Joseph Mohr

Joseph Mohr was born into a humble family–his mother was a seamstress and his father, an army musketeer. A choirboy in Salzburg Cathedral as a youth, Mohr studied at Salzburg University and was ordained in the Roman Catholic Church in 1815. Mohr was a priest in various churches near Salzburg, including St. Nicholas Church. He spent his later years in Hintersee and Wagrein. Bert Polman… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright
Title: Silent Night, Holy Night
German Title: Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht
Author: Joseph Mohr
Translator (Sts. 1, 3): J. Freeman Young
Translator (sts. 2, 4): Anonymous
Meter: Irregular
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain

Chinese

English

French

German

Hawaiian

Hungarian

Korean

Mandarin

Spanish

Welsh

Notes

Scripture References:
all st. = Luke 2:1-20

With a mixture of reflection and awe, the writer evokes the night of Christ's birth, recalling not only the birth but also its meaning: the Christ who is born in Bethlehem is our Savior and our King!

Parish priest Joseph Mohr (b. Salzburg, Austria, 1792; d. Wagrein, Austria, 1848) wrote the original German text in six stanzas in Oberndorf, Austria, on December 24, 1818, for St. Nicholas's Church. Because the church organ had broken down that day, Mohr and his parish organist, Franz Gruber (b. Unterweizberg, near Hochburg, Austria, 1787; d. Hallein, near Salzburg, Austria, 1863), composed this beloved hymn to be accompanied on guitar for the Christmas Eve service.

After organ repairman Karl Mauracher heard the hymn, he took the manuscript to the Tyrol region. Because it was sung by various Tyrol folk groups (including the touring Strasser "sisters" and the Rainer family), "Silent Night" became known as a “Tyrolean carol.” The hymn's widespread use enhanced its popularity throughout Europe and North America during the middle nineteenth century. Without attributing the hymn's composition to Mohr and Gruber, the Leipzig Katholisches Gesang-und Gebetbuch first published the hymn in 1838; because of the efforts of Gruber's grandson, the author and composer were soon recognized.

Author Joseph Mohr was born into a humble family–his mother was a seamstress and his father, an army musketeer. A choirboy in Salzburg Cathedral as a youth, Mohr studied at Salzburg University and was ordained in the Roman Catholic Church in 1815. Mohr was a priest in various churches near Salzburg, including St. Nicholas Church. He spent his later years in Hintersee and Wagrein.

Various English translations abound, some of which are rather free paraphrases. The familiar stanzas 1, 3, and 4 in the Psalter Hymnal come from the popular English translation by John F. Young, first published in John C. Hollister's Sunday School Service and Tune Book (1863). Henrietta Ten Harmsel (PHH 61) wrote stanza 2 and made other alterations in the text in 1984 to "stress the paradoxes and deeper meanings of Christmas."

Liturgical Use:
Candlelight worship services on Christmas Eve; church school programs; "carols from many lands" choral services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

STILLE NACHT

Although he composed nearly one hundred works, Franz Gruber is remembered for only one–the tune of "Silent Night," composed on Christmas Eve, 1818. He scored the tune for tenor and bass soli (sung by Mohr and Gruber on that night) with the final phrase to be repeated in harmony (sung by the villag…

Go to tune page >


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