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German Song Lyrics

German Christmas Carols

Zu Bethlehem geboren
Born in Bethlehem

German Christmas Carol Lyrics > Zu Bethlehem geboren

Read more about this carol and its interesting history below.

Melodie: trad. französisch (1599)
Text: Friedrich von Spee* (1591-1635)

Original German lyrics

Zu Bethlehem geboren
ist uns ein Kindelein,
Dies hab ich auserkoren,
sein eigen will ich sein.
Eija, eija, sein eigen will ich sein.

In seine Lieb versenken
will ich mich ganz hinab,
mein Herz will ich ihm schenken
und alles, was ich hab.
Eija, eija, und alles was ich hab.

O Kindelein, von Herzen
will ich dich lieben sehr,
in Freuden und in Schmerzen,
je länger mehr und mehr.
Eija, eija, je länger mehr und mehr.

Dazu dein Gnad mir gebe,
bitt ich aus Herzensgrund,
dass ich allein dir lebe,
jetzt und zu aller Stund.
Eija, eija, jetzt und zu aller Stund.

Dich, wahren Gott, ich finde
in unserm Fleisch und Blut;
darum ich mich dann binde
an dich mein höchstes Gut,
eija, eija, an dich, mein höchstes Gut.

Lass mich von dir nicht scheiden,
knüpf zu, knüpf zu das Band
der Liebe zwischen beiden;
nimm hin mein Herz zum Pfand,
eija, eija, nimm hin mein Herz zum Pfand!
Literal prose translation

In Bethlehem is born
to us a little child.
This [one] I have chosen.
I want to be his [servant].
Ay, ay, I want to be his [servant]!

Into his love
I want to submerge myself completely.
My heart I want to give him,
and everything I have,
Ay, ay, and everything I have.

O little child, from the heart
I want to love thee so,
in joy and in pain,
ever longer more and more
Ay, ay, ever longer more and more.

To that end give me thy grace,
I ask from the bottom of my heart,
that I may live for thee alone,
now and in every hour.
Ay, ay, now and in every hour.

Thee, true God, I find
in our flesh and blood.
Thus I bind myself
to thee, my highest good,
Ay, ay, to thee, my highest good.

Don't let me be separated from thee;
fasten, fasten the bond
of love between both;
Take my heart as a pledge,
Ay, ay, take my heart as a pledge!

AUDIO: See links below.

*See more about Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld (also known as Friedrich von Spee) below.

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About this Carol
Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld (1591-1635), the German Jesuit author and professor of theology who wrote the lyrics for this carol, also wrote Cautio criminalis in 1631, taking a stand against what he felt were the unjust proceedings by the Catholic Church against so-called witches. This was the last of several carols by Spee, published in 1638 (in the Kölner Psälterlein hymnal), three years after his death in Trier. He was only 44 years old when he became infected by the plague while tending to its victims.

Read more about Spee, in German, at the Web sites linked below.

Web > Sehnsuch nach dem Kind - Kirchensite.de
Web > Friedrich Spee - Stadt Trier

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Text und Melodie (Audio) von 'Zu Bethlehem geboren'.

Text und Melodie (Audio) von 'Zu Bethlehem geboren'.

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