Ode to a Nightingale

Hear the noble nightingale’s
sweet song
echo through the woods.
With lyric verses
she fulfills
her duty to her Maker.

In the whitened tent
of the world
she sings.
Her zeal and effort aimed 
so that God’s praise
rings out with clarity:

To you, you, you O highest refuge
I offer without words
my gratitude.
My endless longing is
to raise on high
your honour.

Every feather summons praise
and demonstrates
your gentle goodness.
Grant that, when my wings are raised,
gratitude will ring out clearly 
from my heart.

Every little worm I eat
is indeed
a gift of your sending.
Accept, before this meal, Sustainer, 
this praise offering
and refresh me, always.

Be praised from this branch
where I alit to rest
And not to praise you.
No! Yet your renown will always 
here and everywhere
be drawn forth from me.

You, lovely songstress, 
with your song
have awakened me:
I’ll sing only of God’s grace
at which I’m always 
totally amazed. 

Click here to read this poem in the original German.

On the Peaceful Night-Time

Swiss composer Klaus Huber (1924-2017) set this poem to music in 1958. You’ll find a link to a concert video of this work below the translation. You can also find an audio recording on Apple Music.


Star-spangled throne of Heaven
and you, moon, the night’s crown!
Shine while earth’s orb
conceals from us the sun’s bright rays.


Stillness, the grave of thought!
Set worry and fretting aside
and still, still, still in me
every heart-stirring desire.


Now music in the air
sleeps in the cleft of a hollow tree.
Resting, it does not disturb
God-hon’ring desire in me.


Sweet nectar of God-given grace
that blesses me while I sleep!
Let fortune’s light and being
flow and fill me while I’m dreaming.


Shadow, friend of restfulness!
Night—refreshment after labour!
Let not darkness be so deep
it hides the noble light of heaven.


And you, source of serenity,
Lord of my heart, come near
and be my resting place. Even asleep,
I will keep true watch with you.


Close tight, my eyes,
be rich in restfulness.
But you, my spirit, stay awake
to praise your God at midnight.

Click here to read this poem in the original German.

Click here to see a concert video of Klaus Huber’s musical setting.