Thou Who Art Three in Unity

Tune: Der du bist drei in Einigkeit

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  1. Thou who art Three in Unity,
    True God from all eternity,
    The sun is fading from our sight,
    Shine Thou on us with heav’nly light.

  2. We praise Thee with the dawning day,
    To Thee at evening also pray,
    With our poor song we worship Thee
    Now, ever, and eternally.

  3. Let God the Father be adored,
    And God the Son, the only Lord,
    And equal adoration be,
    Eternal Comforter, to Thee.

Der du bist drei in Einigkeit
Attr. Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
German Version: Martin Luther, 1543
Tr. Richard Massie, 1854, alt.

German Text

Tune: Der du bist drei in Einigkeit

  1. Der du bist drei in Einigkeit,
    Ein wahrer Gott von Ewigkeit,
    Die Sonn mit dem Tag von uns weicht,
    Laß leuchten uns dein göttlich Licht.

  2. Des Morgens, Gott, dich loben wir,
    Des Abends auch beten vor dir,
    Unser armes Lied rühmet dich
    Jetzund, immer und ewiglich.

  3. Gott Vater dem sei ewig Ehr,
    Gott Sohn der ist der einig Herr,
    Und dem Tröster Heiligen Geist
    von nun an bis in Ewigkeit.

O lux beata Trinitas
Attr. Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
German Version: Martin Luther, 1543
Source: C.F.W. Walther’s Kirchen-Gesangbuch, 1898 printing


Martin Luther

Martin Luther, 1483–1546, portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1533

Author: Martin Luther

The Latin hymn “O lux beata Trinitas (O Blessed Light, Thou Trinity),” attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan (340–397), was traditionally sung in the evening at the service of Vespers. Martin Luther produced his German translation, “Thou Who Art Three in Unity (Der du bist drei in Einigkeit),” in 1543, when it appeared with no melody in Joseph Klug’s Wittenberg hymnal. In 1545, the hymn appeared with two versions of the original plainchant melody, one in Valentin Babst’s Leipzig hymnal, the other in Wolfgang Köpfel’s Strassburg hymnal. It is the latter than won out.

"Der du bist drei in Einigkeit" as it appeared in a 1545 printing of Klug's hymnal.

“Der du bist drei in Einigkeit” as it appeared in a 1545 printing of Klug’s hymnal.

While Luther’s hymn is absent from The Lutheran Hymnal and the Lutheran Service Book, a translation by John Mason Neale from the Latin original, “O Trinity, Most Blessed Light,” is found in The Lutheran Hymnal, No. 564, set to Nikolaus Herman’s tune O heilige Dreifaltigket, known to English speakers through its association with the translation “O Blessed Holy Trinity.” For the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book, we have used a slightly altered version of the translation made by Richard Massie from Luther’s German. An arrangement of the plainchant melody is found in Layriz’s Kern des deutschen Kirchengesangs, and in the same form in the Mehrstimmiges Choralbuch, but it departs from the simplicity of the plainchant. We have therefore used a slightly altered version of Lucas Osiander’s setting of the plainchant melody as found in Köpfel.

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