Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken

"Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken" (Lord, strengthen me to reflect on your suffering) is a Passion hymn in German, written by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert to the melody of "Herzliebster Jesu", and first published in 1757. It is contained in the German Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch.

"Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken"
Lutheran Passion hymn
Christian Fürchtegott Gellert
Written1755 (1755)
Textby Christian Fürchtegott Gellert
Melody"Herzliebster Jesu"
Composed1534 (1534)
Published1757 (1757)



Gellert wrote "Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken" in 1755.[1] It appeared first in Leipzig in 1757 in his collection Geistliche Oden und Lieder, with 22 stanzas[2] of four lines each,[3] titled "Passionslied" (Passion song). As the first line indicates, it is a Passiontide prayer requesting strength to think about the suffering of Jesus.[2] In the 1993 common Protestant hymnal, Evangelisches Gesangbuch, it appears shortened to ten stanzas and rearranged as EG 91.[2][4][5]

Text and theme


Gellert focuses on a reflection on the Passion of Jesus, without description of the actions as narrated by the Evangelists. Speaking in the first-person singular, he contemplates its meaning for the individual believer, both theologically and emotionally. His theological thoughts are based on the Epistles of Paul. In accordance with the contemporary anthropology, he aims to educate both the mind towards wisdom and the heart towards virtue.[1]

The format of the stanzas, with three long lines and a final short line, was based on the Sapphic stanza of Latin hymns. Beginning with a funeral song by Bartholomäus Ringwaldt from the 17th century, the format became associated with the topics of death, Passion and solace. Gellert succeeded mostly in filling the stressed fourth line with meaning,[1]

Melody and musical setting


Gellert chose to write his poem to match the melody of the well-known hymn "Herzliebster Jesu", composed by Johann Crüger in 1640, which was based on a 1534 tune by Guilleaume Franc.[4] Bach had included the first stanza of that hymn in his St Matthew Passion. Singers of Gellert's hymn would relate it to the context of the older hymn by Johann Heermann.[1] The character of the melody has been described as "floating, bitter-sad, serious" ("schwebend, herb-traurig, ernst").[1]

A four-part vocal setting by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who set many songs from Gellert's collection to music in his Gellert Odes and Songs,[6] was adapted for a publication by Carus-Verlag.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Sitzmann, Manfred (2000). "91 Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken". In Hahn, Gerhard; Henkys, Jürgen (eds.). Liederkunde zum Evangelischen Gesangbuch (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 85–88. ISBN 978-3-52-550319-5.
  2. ^ a b c "Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken". hymnology.hymnsam.co.uk. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Evangelisches Gesangbuch 91" (in German). Carus-Verlag. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken". liederdatenbank.de (in German). Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken". hymnary.org. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  6. ^ Geistliche Oden und Lieder I, H.686 (Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  7. ^ "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach : Herr, stärke mich, dein Leiden zu bedenken" (in German). Carus-Verlag. Retrieved 28 March 2021.