Johann Franck

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Johann Fran(c)k (1 June 1618 – 18 June 1677) was a German politician (serving as mayor of Guben and a member of the Landtag of Lower Lusatia) and a lyric poet and hymnist.

Artistic representation of Franck on a window at the Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche in Lübben.


Franck was born in Guben, Margraviate of Lower Lusatia.[1] After visiting the Latin school in Guben, he attended schools in Cottbus and Stettin, as well as the gymnasium in Thorn (Toruń).[2] After studying law at the University of Königsberg, he became a councilor in his native town, later becoming its mayor and a member of the Landtag of Lower Lusatia.[3] He died in Guben.[3]


Under the influence of the Silesian School and of Simon Dach of Königsberg, he produced a series of poems and hymns, collected and edited by himself in two volumes (Guben, 1674), entitled: Teutsche Gedichte, enthaltend geistliches Zion samt Vaterunserharfe nebst irdischem Helicon oder Lob-, Lieb-, Leidgedichte, etc.. His secular poems are forgotten; about forty of his religious songs, hymns, and psalms have been kept in the hymals of the German Protestant Church. Some of these are the hymn for Communion "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele" ("Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness"), the Advent hymn Komm, Heidenheiland, Lösegeld (Come, Ransom of our captive race, a translation into German of Veni redemptor gentium), and a hymn to Jesus, "Jesu, meine Freude"[3] (Jesus, my joy), which is best known as being the basis of Bach's funeral motet Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227. His hymn "Du, o schönes Weltgebäude"[4] (You, o beautiful building of the world), with a melody by Crüger is no longer in practical use, but one stanza, "Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder" (Come, O death, to sleep a brother), was prominently used in Bach's solo cantata Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56.[5][6]

The music for his hymns by the Guben organist Christoph Peter appeared first in the Andachtscymbeln, the oldest Guben hymn book, in 1648. In honor of Franck, a simple monument has been erected at the south wall of the Guben parish church.


  1. ^ "Kultur in der Kirche". Kulturkirchen. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  2. ^ "MGG Online". MGG Online (in German). 6 May 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Werner, A. "Philip Schaff: Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia Vol. : 0381=365 – Christian Classics Ethereal Library". Home – Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Johann Franck (Frank)". Biografie WHO'S WHO (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  5. ^ "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen". Schönborn (Rhein-Lahn-Kreis), Kirche (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Text". Bachkantaten in der Predigerkirche (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2022.


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