Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Many years ago I researched the origins of the Christmas carol “Silent Night.” I was surprised to learn that the original melody was different from what is commonly sung today and that the English translation consisting of three stanzas, as beloved as it is, was originally six and lacks their fullness and richness (for a literal translation of all six stanzas see “Thoughts on ‘Silent Night'”).
Recently I completed a metrical translation of all six stanzas that can be sung to either the original melody or the modern melody. My first translation attempt many years ago was of limited usefulness since it could only be sung to the original melody. Below is another translation that is a little more poetic and not only better reflects the meaning of the original text, but also has the exact same meter in each stanza (66 88 66) so that it can be sung easily to both melodies.
Silent night! Holy night! All is still; one bright light Shines where Joseph and Mary keep Loving watch o’er their Child asleep. Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace!
Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, our delight Is God’s smile upon us in pow’r As for us strikes salvation’s hour, Jesus Lord, at Your birth! Jesus Lord, at Your birth!
Silent night! Holy night! Love, come down from heav’n’s height, Is our Savior in whom we see Mercy, grace fulfilled perfectly. Jesus, God become man! Jesus, God become man!
Silent night! Holy night! Where today pow’r and might Is poured out upon us and we All together come kneel to see Jesus, Lord of the world! Jesus, Lord of the world!
Silent night! Holy night! Adam’s sin did indict, But the Father placed wrath for sin On His only begotten Son Reconciling the world! Reconciling the world!
Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds heard, then proclaimed “Alleluia!” with angel choir. Sing it loudly both near and far: “Christ the Savior is here!” “Christ the Savior is here!”
© 2021 Martin P. Dicke. All rights reserved.
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Wishing you God’s richest blessings in the New Year!
Soli Deo Gloria!