Here is an oldie posted in 2014 that was found over on Pr David Ramirez’s blog,
Luther in English Poetry
Note: Thank you to Pr. Andrew Gray for providing us with an intriguing post about Luther and poetry (a most neglected art).
The impetus for this post is the finding of a 1938 book called Martin Luther in English Poetry. (Catalog listing) It consists of poems that have something to do with Luther and the Reformation. The poems were “selected and edited” by W.G. Polack.
The poems are organized somewhat chronologically around the events of Luther’s life. They are well worth reading. If you can find the book for a decent price I would pick it up. The poems inside are great and digging deeper into the book I have found that much of the volume can be found for free in other texts.
The first of these and in my estimation the most interesting and valuable is Luther Songs and Ballads: A Jubilee Offering. This book by Frederick William Herzberger was written in 1916. He wrote the book to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the reformation. (Perhaps there needs to be a similar volume put together for the 500th anniversary) These poems are many of those found in the aforementioned volume. Click here.
Here are a couple of examples.
The first: HALLOWEEN
“At eveningtime it shall be light!”
The prophet sang long, long ago.
Ho, watchman, what the hour of night;
When ends our bondage, ends our woe?
When breaks the long expected day
That frees us from the tyrant’s sway?
Blest Halloween that struck the hour
When Luther’s hammer rose and fell
At Wittenberg in heaven-born power
And rang dark popery’s funeral-knell,
When long and cruel night was gone
And smiling rose the promised dawn!
That hammer was Christ’s saving Word
Whose quenchless fire the gloom destroyed
From Zion’s hills, and men now heard
Again the Gospel overjoyed,
And turned from helpless saints so dead
To Christ, our holy, living Head.
In Him all weary hearts find rest,
And, trusting in His pardoning grace,
Are made kings, priests, aye, saints most
Who live before their Savior’s face
And thank Him for the Halloween
LUTHER’S SMALL CATECHISM
Friend of my youth that taught me
In childhood’s happy days,
In Luther’s childlike language,
God’s good and saving ways.
Friend of my struggling manhood,
Whose counsel never failed
When siren songs allured me
And doubt and fear prevailed.
Friend of my shipwrecked brethren,
Who, drifting `mid the shoals,
Again in thee find refuge,
Again yield God their souls.
Friend of my ev’ning shadows
When other friends depart ,
Thou, faithful guide to heaven,
Wilt cheer my lonely heart.
Ah little book immortal
Like thy immortal Fount,*
None save God’s timeless ages
Thy blessings can recount!
There are many other wonderful examples. You really should check this particular volume out.
The next work that makes up much of the first volume mentioned here is the poem by English poet Robert Montgomery. The work is simply titled Luther: a Poem. Montgomery was not a Lutheran and I haven’t read this whole work so I can’t vouch for his theological insights; but Polack said of the poem “…that great epic poem… which really deserves to be republished in America. There is good to be found in it. It can be found Here.
The final work that is worth mentioning is a section of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Golden Legend” It depicts Luther in the Wartburg writing to Melancthon. It can be found in various places though it appears in complete form Here.
Need to Get Levels:
3/10 for Martin Luther in English Poetry- Costly since most material can be found elsewhere for free.
10/10 for Luther Songs and Ballads- This is the best of the bunch in my estimation
10/10 for the other two. Why not they’re free.
Any of the works listed here that you can find will offer some fun insights to Luther and his work as well those things related to the Reformation.Also, just in doing a quick search for this post it seems there are other Luther poetry works out there. If you find other Luther poetry let us know.
Pr. Andrew Gray