This is the 14th entry in the Advent-Hymn-of-the-Day Project.
Once again, we encounter John the Baptizer, but this time, he doesn't speak. Rather we are told about him and the coming of the Lord.
This fine text is by Johann G. Olearius (1611-1684), and it is translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), alt.
The meldoy and bass are by Charels Goudimel (1514-1572), who was well known for his some 500 Calvinist psalm settings. He lived for 10 years in Metz. Perhaps I should have played this hymn on that organ!
I've used two "versions" of harmony in this performance. Verses 1 & 3 use the very nice "early-feeling" harmony in the "Hymnal 1982". Verse 2 comes from "The Presbyterian Hymal" (1990), and comes from the "Genevan Psalter", 1551, so it is possible that this is the original harmonization. The name of the tune is "Psalm 42".
Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness
Mourning 'neath their sorrows; load;
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell them that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.
Hark, the voice of one that crieth
In the desert far and near,
Calling us to new repentance
Since the kingdom now is here.
O, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
And the hills bow down to greet Him.
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o'er earth is shed abroad;
And all flesh shall see the token
That the Word is never broken.