Born today in 1813, in Edinburgh, Jane Laurie Borthwick became interested in translating German hymns into English while traveling in Europe. Upon her return, her father encouraged the work so that she could share the hymn texts that so interested her. Eventually she and her sister, Sarah Borthwick Findlater, compiled a book of their translations titled Hymns from the Land of Luther (1854). Borthwick continued the task of hymn and verse translation in later books as well.
A member of the Free Church of Scotland, Borthwick was also involved in mission and social justice work in several Edinburgh organizations.
Today's hymn is intended for Sunday (Sabbath) worship, once a popular theme but less often seen today.
Hallelujah! fairest morning,
Fairer than our words can say!
Down we lay the heavy burden
Of life’s toil and care today,
While this morn of joy and love
Brings fresh vigor from above.
In the gladness of God's worship
We will seek our joy today;
It is then we learn the fullness
Of the grace for which we pray,
When the word of life is giv’n,
Like the Savior’s voice from heav’n.
Let the day with thee be ended,
As with thee it has begun,
And thy blessing, God, be granted,
Till earth’s days and weeks are done;
That at last thy servants may
Keep eternal Sabbath day.
Jonathan Krause, 1739;
tr. Jane Laurie Borthwick, 1858; alt.
Tune: ORIEL (22.214.171.124.8.7.)
Caspar Ett, 1840
The author of the original German text, Jonathan Krause (1701-1762), was born in Silesia (now Poland) and was for many years the pastor of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Legnica. This may be his only hymn that has been widely translated into other languages.
Six Years Ago: Jane Laurie Borthwick