Behind the Hymn: Awake my heart with gladness

Awake my heart with gladness was written by Paul Gerhardt. The song was translated by John Kelly.

Gerhardt was born in Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany in 1607. He studied theology and wrote many hymns including Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow. He died in 1676 in Lubben, Germany.

John Kelly was born in 1833 Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. He ministered to churches Hebburn-on-Tyne and Streatham, and was Tract Editor of the Religious Tract Society. His translations of Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs were published in 1867. His Hymns of the Present Century from the German were published in 1886.

His translations are said to “lack poetic finish, but are faithful to the originals”.  He died on a visit to Braemar, Scotland on July 19, 1890.

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