German Sequences
In the Church, too, the voice of native song now made itself heard. The German Sequences, "Leisen," or "Leiche," [6] as they were also called, became much more common, and at the highest festivals were sung even at the service of the mass itself. One for Easter, which we meet with in many various forms, and another for Whitsuntide, were thus used, and have descended to the present day as the first verses of two of Luther's best-known hymns: --

Christus ist erstanden


"Christ the Lord is risen,

Out of Death's dark prison,

Let us all rejoice to-day,

Christ shall be our hope and stay:

Kyrie eleison.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Let us all rejoice to-day;

Christ shall be our hope and stay.

Kyrie eleison."

Or in other forms --

"Christ hath risen again,

Broken every chain;"


"Christ is risen again,

Out of all that pain."

And for Whitsuntide, "here singeth the whole Church," as an old manuscript says, --

Nu biten wir den heiligen geist

[21]Spervogel. Twelfth century.

trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1869

"Now let us pray the Holy Ghost

For that True Faith we need the most,

And that He may keep us when death shall come,

And from this ill world we travel home.

Kyrie eleison."

These are attributed to [22]Spervogel, a writer of the twelfth century, of whom we only know that he was a priest, of a burgher family, and a favourite sacred poet of that time. He composed many short didactic poems, almost epigrammatic in brevity and condensed thought, which were the beginning of a class of religious poetry that was much loved and practised in the next two or three centuries.

chapter iii the morning a d
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