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Nicolas Hermann

The portrait of Nicolas Hermann in the library at Nuremberg shows a handsome, genial, yet shrewd-looking old man, and such he seems to have been--a man who threw himself wholly into the life of the people around him, and found interest and happiness in it. Few of his hymns and poems are intended or adapted for the Church; they are meant for his school children; for the girls and young men to sing, instead of profane songs; for the occasions of domestic and daily life; or for the perils and varying fortunes of a miner's hazardous calling. But he had a fatal facility of versification, and many of his poems are spoilt by their length, while others are but rhymed versions of some of Matthesius's sermons; yet his best show that he had in good measure the real gift of song, and mark a new style in German hymnology, not the grave and lofty tone that had been caught from the Psalms of David, but the simple, earnest, picturesque manner of the popular 143 songs. He was a passionate lover of music, and when old and infirm could picture heaven to himself no otherwise than as a place of delicious and joyful harmony. He writes once: "Every organist or lutanist in that life too will take some holy text, and strike upon his organ or his lute; and every one will be able to sing at sight and by himself four or five different parts. There will be no more confusion and mistakes, which now often put many a good musician quite out of heart, especially when he has to begin again several times over." He died in 1561.

The hymns of these authors most frequently to be met with, are of course those adapted to Church use. A morning hymn by Matthesius--

"My inmost heart now raises,

In this fair morning hour,

A hymn of thankful praises

To God's almighty power"--

was the favourite morning hymn of Gustavus Adolphus. Many of Nicolas Hermann's hymns are to be found in all German hymn-books. One of these is the following

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