The Sun’s Last Beam of Light Is Gone

Tune: Hinunter ist der Sonnenschein

  1. The sun’s last beam of light is gone,
    The darksome night comes swiftly on;
    Enlighten us, O Christ, our Light,
    Nor let us stumble in the night.

  2. Thanks be to Thee, that Thou this day
    All harm and danger and dismay
    Hast through Thine angel from us barred
    By grace and fatherly regard.

  3. Where we by sin have angered Thee,
    Grant us Thy pardon graciously,
    Nor leave our soul with guilt oppressed,
    But let us sleep in peace and rest.

  4. Thy holy angel with us dwell,
    Nor let the wicked Foe us fell,
    From fear and dread, from fire and rod,
    This night protect us, faithful God.

Hinunter ist der Sonnenschein
Nikolaus Herman, 1560
Tr. composite

German Text

Tune: Hinunter ist der Sonnenschein

  1. Hinunter ist der Sonnenschein,
    Die finstre Nacht bricht stark herein,
    Leucht uns, Herr Christ, du wahres Licht,
    Laß uns im Finstern tappen nicht.

  2. Der sei Dank, daß du uns den Tag
    Vor Schaden, G’fahr und mancher Plag
    Durch deine Engel hast behüt
    Aus Gnad und väterliche Güt.

  3. Womit wir habn erzürnet dich,
    Dasselb verzeih uns gnädiglich
    Und rechn es unsrer Seel nicht zu,
    Laß uns schlafen mit Fried und Ruh.

  4. Durch dein Engel die Wach bestell,
    Daß uns der böse Feind nicht fäll;
    Vor Schrecken, G’spenst und Feuersnot,
    Behüt uns heint, o lieber Gott.

Nikolaus Herman, 1560
Source: C.F.W. Walther’s Kirchen-Gesangbuch, 1898 printing, No. 317


“The Sun’s Last Beam of Light Is Gone (Hinunter ist der Sonnenschein)” first appeared in Nikolaus Herman’s collection of hymns for the Church Year, Die Sontags Euangelia, Lepizig, 1560. A scan of the original hymn is available here, courtesy of the University and State Library of Saxony-Anhalt in Halle. The evening hymn formed a pair with Herman’s morning hymn, “The Radiant Sun Shines in the Skies (Die helle Sonn leucht jetzt herfür),” both set to the tune “Wo Gott zum Haus.” Melchior Vulpius later provided the proper tunes for both hymns in Ein schön geistlich Gesangbuch, Leipzig, 1609.

The hymn was translated by Frances Elizabeth Cox, Sacred Hymns from the German, 1841, p. 57, under the title “Sunk Is the Sun’s Last Beam of Light,” and by Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica, 1855, p. 225, under the title “The Happy Sunshine All Is Gone.” The two translations were combined and further altered for the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, 1927, No. 32, “The Happy Sunshine Now Is Gone,” and The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941, No. 563, “The Sun’s Last Beam of Light Is Gone.” For the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book, we have used as a basis the text as found in The Lutheran Hymnal, with further revisions for the sake of increased fidelity to the source material.

The text and music here provided may be used and reproduced for any purpose whatever. They are offered with the prayer that they may serve for the joy and edification of Christian people everywhere.