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Family Life

The other direction of the subjectivity of Gerhardt's writing is that of the family life. In a time so bereft of virtues as the XVIIth century the firmly grounded idea of the home must be given first place. His own family life, cheered by domestic felicity, and the many contributions he made to occasional poetry bear testimony to this. For married life he sings the 25 praise of quiet domesticity,101101Goed. 242. picturing the Christian housewife in the midst of her surroundings, bringing joy and cheer to her husband, faithful in her tasks, ministering to the poor and teaching her children the Word of God. He closes the poem with the eulogy:

Die Werke, die sie hie verrichtt,
Sind wie ein schönes helles Licht;
Sie dringen bis zu Himmelspfort
Und werden leuchten hier und dort.

Before Gerhardt, Mathesius102102Johann M., a Lutheran theologian, 1504-1565. His Leben Luthers (1566) is his most famous work. had sung the praises of domestic happiness in "Wem Gott ein ehrlich Weib beschert," but the sincere note of Gerhardt's "Wie schön ist's doch, Herr Jesu Christ" (Goed. 302) placed German home-life in a poetic light it had not known before.


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