(Weiss, Wiss, Wegs, Weys, Weyss), was born circa 1480, in Neisse, Silesia,
took priest's orders, and was for some time a monk at Breslau. When the
early writings of Luther came into his hands, Weisse, with two other monks,
abandoned the convent, and sought refuge in the Bohemian Brethren's House at
Leutomischl in Bohemia. He became German preacher (and apparently founder of
the German communities) to the Bohemian Brethren at Landskron in Bohemia,
and Fulnck in Moravia, and died at Landskron in 1534 (Koch, ii.
115-120; Wackernagel's D. Kirchenlied, i. p. 727; Fontes rerum
Austricarum, Scriptores, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 227, Vienna, 18G3, &c).
Weisse was admitted as a priest among the Brethren at the Synod of
Brandeis, in 1531, and in 1532 was appointed a member of their Select
Council, but he had previously performed important missions for the
Brethren. He was, e.g., sent by Bishop Lucas, in 1522, along with J. Roh
or Horn, to explain the views of the Bohemian Brethren to Luther; and
again, in 1524, when they were appointed more especially to report on the
practices and holiness of life of the followers of the German Reformers.
He was also entrusted with the editing of the first German hymn-book of
the Bohemian Brethren, which appeared as Ein New Gesengbuchlen at
Jungen Bunzel (Jung Bunzlau) in Bohemia in 1531. This contained 155 hymns,
all apparently either translations or else originals by himself. The
proportion of translations is not very clear. In the preface to the 1531,
Weisse addressing the German Communities at Fulnek and Landskron says, "I
have also, according to my power, put forth all my ability, your old
hymn-book as well as the Bohemian hymn-book (Cantional) being before me,
and have brought the same sense, in accordance with Holy Scripture, into
Luther called Weisse "a good poet, with somewhat erroneous views on the
Sacrament" (i.e. Holy Communion); and, after the Sacramental hymns had
been revised by Roh (1544), included 12 of his hymns in V. Babst's
Gesang-Buch, 1545. Many of his hymns possess considerable merit. The
style is flowing and musical, the religious tone is earnest and manly, but
yet tender and truly devout, and the best of them are distinguished by a
certain charming simplicity of thought and expression. At least 119 passed
into the German Lutheran hymnbooks of the 16th and 17th centuries, and
many are still in use.
The following hymns by Weisse have also passed into English:—
i. Christus ist erstanden. Von des Todes Banden. Easter.
First published 1531 as above, and thence in Wackernagel, iii. p.
273, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. It is suggested by the older hymn, "Christ ist
erstanden". In the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 129. The
translation in common use is:—
Christ the Lord is risen again! This is a full and very
good translation by Miss Winkworth, in her Lyra Germanica, 2nd
Ser., 1858, p. 37, and her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 58.
It has been included in many recent English and American hymnals. Other
(1) "Christ (and 'tis no wonder"). This is No. 260 in pt. i. of the
Moravian Hymn Book, 1754. (2) "Christ our Lord is risen," by Dr. H.
Mills, 1856, p. 322.
ii. Es geht daher des Tages Schein. Morning. 1531
as above, and thence in Wackernagel, iii. p. 318, in 7 stanzas of 4
lines. In the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 455. The
translations in common use are:—
1. The Light of Day again we see. In full, by H. J. Buckoll
in his Hymns from German, 1842, p. 14. His translations of stanzas
iii., iv., vi., vii., beginning “Great God, eternal Lord of Heaven," were
included in the Rugby School Hymn Book, 1843.
2. Once more the daylight shines abroad. This is a full and
very good translation by Miss Winkworth, in her Lyra Germanica, 2nd
Ser., 1858, p. 69, and her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 18.
Repeated in Thring's Collection, 1880-82.
iii. Gelobt sei Gott im höchsten Thron. Easter.
1531 as above, and thence in Wackernagel, iii. p. 265, in 20
stanzas of 3 lines, with Alleluia. The translations in common use are: —
1. Praise God upon His heavenly throne. This is a free
translation of stanzas 1, 4, 10, 19, 20, by A. T. Russell, as No. 112, in
his Psalms & Hymns, 1851.
2. Glory to God upon His throne. By Mrs. H. R. Spaeth, in
the Southern Lutheran Service and Hymns for Sunday Schools ,
iv. Gott sah zu seiner Zeit. Christmas. 1531 as
above, and thence in Wackernagel, iii. p. 244, in 10 stanzas of 9
lines. The translation in common use is:—
When the due Time had taken place. By C. Kinchen, omitting
stanza v., as No. 169 in the Moravian Hymn Book, 1742 (1849, No.
20). In the ed. of 1886, No. 954 consists of stanza x., beginning “Ah come,
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer."
v. Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott. Advent. 1531 as
above, and thence in Wackernagel, iii. p. 230, in 14 stanzas of 4
lines. Included in V. Babst's Gesang-Buch, 1545, and recently as
No. 12 in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen , 1851. In the larger
edition of the Moravian Hymn Book, 1886, it is marked as a
translation from a Bohemian hymn, beginning "Cirkev Kristova Boha chval."
The translations are:—
1. Praise be to that Almighty God. By J. Gambold, omitting
stanza xi.-xiii., as No, 246, in pt. i. of the Moravian Hymn Book,
1754. In the 1789 and later eds. (1886, No. 31), it begins “To God we render
thanks and praise."
2. O come, th' Almighty's praise declare. By A. T. Russell,
of stanzas i.-iii., v., as No. 26 in his Psalms & Hymns, 1851.
vi. O Herre Jesu Christ, der du erschienen bistanza.
For Children. On Christ's Example in His early years on earth . 1531 as
above, and in Wackernagel, iii. p. 326, in 7 stanzas of 7 lines.
The first three stanzas are translated as “Christ Jesus, Lord most dear," in
the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754, pt. i., No. 278. The form in common
use is that in Knapp's Evangelischer Lieder-Schatz , 1837, No.
2951, which begins "Nun hilf uns, o Herr Jesu Christ," and is in 3 stanzas
of 4 lines, entirely recast. This is translated as:—
Lord Jesus Christ, we come to Thee . In full from Knapp, by
Miss Winkworth, in her Chorale Book for England , 1863, No. 179.
Hymns not in English common use:—
vii. Den Vater dort oben. Grace after Meat. 1531,
and thence in Wackernagel, iii., p. 321, in 5 stanzas of 7 lines.
In the Berlin Geistliche Lieder, ed. 1863, No. 1136. Translated as,
"Father, Lord of mercy," by J. V. Jacobi, 1122, p. 117. In his edition,
1732, p. 183, slightly altered, and thence in the Moravian Hymn Book,
1754, pt. i., No. 290.
viii. Die Sonne wird mit ihrem Schein. Evening.
1531, and thence in Wackernagel, iii., p. 323, in 6 stanzas of 4
lines. In the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 517. Translated
as, "Soon from our wishful eyes awhile," by H. J. Buckoll, 1842.
ix. Komm, heiliger Geist, wahrer Gott. Whitsuntide
. 1531, and in Wackernagel , iii., p. 282, in 9 stanzas of 5 lines
From the Bohemian as noted at p. 157, and partly suggested by the "Veni
Sancte Spiritus reple " (q.v.). The translations are: (1) “Come, Holy Ghost,
Lord God indeed." This is No. 285 in pt. i. of the Moravian Hymn Book,
1754. (2) "Thou great Teacher, Who instructest." This is a translation of
stanza vii., as No. 234 in the Moravian Hymn Book, 1801 (1849, No.
x. Lob und Ehr mit stettem Dankopfer. The Creation:
Septuagesima . 1531, and in Wackernagel, iii., p. 287, in 5
stanzas of 16 lines. Translated as, “Praise, glory, thanks, be ever paid,"
by Miss Winkworth, 1869, p. 137.
xi. 0 Jesu Christ, der Heiden Licht. Epiphany.
1531, and in Wackernagel , iii. p. 248, in 2 stanzas of 14 lines.
Translated as, "0 Jesus Christ, the Gentiles' Light." This is No. 253 in pt.
i. of the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754. In the Brüder Gesang-Buch,
1778, No. 1467, stanza ii. was rewritten. This form begins, "Erscheine alien
Auserwahlten," and is in 4 stanzas of 4 lines. Translated as, "Lord, to Thy
chosen ones appear," by Miss Winkworth, 1869, p. 139.
xii. Singet lieben Leut. Redemption by Christ.
1531, and in Wackernagel, iii. p. 243, in 16 stanzas of 4 lines.
Translated as, "Sing, be glad, ye happy sheep." This is a translation of
stanza xiv., by C. G. Clemens, as No. 299 in the Moravian Hymn Book,
1789. In the 1801 and later editions (1849, No. 403) it begins, "O rejoice,
Christ's happy sheep." [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)