Simon Dach

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Simon Dach
Simon Dach.jpg
Born(1605-07-29)29 July 1605
Died15 April 1659(1659-04-15) (aged 53)
  • Professor
  • poet
Genre Baroque

Simon Dach (29 July 1605 – 15 April 1659) was a Prussian lyrical poet and hymnwriter, born in Memel, Ducal Prussia (now Klaipėda in Lithuania).

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

A hymn writer is someone who writes the text, music or both of hymns. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the composition of hymns dates back to before the time of David who composed many of the Psalms. The term hymnodist, in the USA more than in other regions, broadens the scope to include the study of hymns.

Klaipėda City in Lithuania Minor, Lithuania

Klaipėda is a city in Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coast. It is the third largest city in Lithuania and the capital of Klaipėda County.


Early life

Although brought up in humble circumstances (his father was a poorly paid court interpreter in Memel), he received a classical education in the Domschule of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and in the Latin schools of Wittenberg and Magdeburg, and entered the University of Königsberg in 1626 where he was a student of theology and philosophy. In 1626, he left Magdeburg to escape both the plague and the Thirty Years' War, and returned to his Prussian homeland, settling in Königsberg, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Königsberg capital city in Prussia

Königsberg is the name for a former German city that is now Kaliningrad, Russia. Originally a Sambian or Old Prussian city, it later belonged to the State of the Teutonic Order, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany until 1945. After being largely destroyed in World War II by Allied bombing and Soviet forces and annexed by the Soviet Union thereafter, the city was renamed Kaliningrad. Few traces of the former Königsberg remain today.

Wittenberg Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Wittenberg is situated on the River Elbe, 60 kilometers (37 mi) north of Leipzig and 90 kilometers (56 mi) south-west of Berlin, and has a population of 48,501 (2008).

Magdeburg Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Magdeburg is the capital city and the second largest city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Elbe River.

Mid life

After earning his degree, Dach was a private tutor for a time, then was appointed Kollaboralor (teacher) in 1633 and co-rector of the Domschule (cathedral school) in Königsberg in 1636. In 1639 he was appointed by Adrian Brauer to the Chair of Poetry at the Albertina University in Königsberg. This was a post he held until his death. Also, in 1640 he received a doctorate from the University.

Part of his official duties as Chair of Poetry was to create poems for various University celebrations, programs, debates and funeral services of his colleagues – all of these written either Latin or Greek. In 1644, he wrote the Play Sorbuisa, which celebrated the centennial of the University of Königsberg.

Dach became one of the prominent heads of the musical Kürbishütte, a group that included, among others, George Weissel, [1] Valentin Thilo [2] and Johann Franck. The summer-house of organist and composer Heinrich Albert became the meeting place of this group of poets, hymnists and musicians, who met in to create new hymns as well as to give readings of their own poetry. This group published eight books of poems and songs from 1638 to 1650, the books meeting with great success. Of the approximately 200 poems and songs contained within the books, Dach had the lion's share, with 125 being his compositions. The songs and hymns contained in these books, especially those of Dach, were sung throughout Germany and frequently appeared in pirated editions.

Johann Franck German poet and hymnist

Johann Fran(c)k was a German politician, mayor of Guben and a member of the Landtag of Lower Lusatia, a lyric poet and hymnist.

Heinrich Albert was a German composer and poet of the 17th century. He was a member of the Königsberg Poetic Society. As a song composer, he was strongly influenced by Heinrich Schütz.

Later life and poetic success

In Königsberg he became friends with and collaborated with Heinrich Albert (1604–1651) and Robert Roberthin [3] (1600–1648) and with them formed the Königsberger Dichtergruppe [4] (loosely translated as the "Königsberg Poets' Association"). In 1639 he was appointed professor of poetry at Königsberg through the influence of his friend Roberthin. He sang the praises of the house of the Electors of Brandenburg in a collection of poems entitled Kurbrandenburgische Rose, Adler, Lowe und Scepter (1661), and also produced many occasional poems, several of which became popular; the most famous of them is "Anke von Tharaw öss, de my geföllt" (rendered from Low Saxon by Herder into modern German as "Ännchen von Tharau"), composed in 1637 in honor of the marriage of a friend.

Among Dach's best-known hymns, many of which are still sung, are the following: "Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht", "Ich bin bei Gott in Gnaden durch Christi Blut und Tod", and "O, wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen." In all, he wrote over 150 hymns, and a number of poems, and was considered the leading figure of the hymnists and poets of Königsberg.

Published works

Poems of note

Ueber den Eingang der Schloßbrücke (1641) [5]
Du Seule Brandenburgs, du Preussens Sicherheit,
O Fridrich Wilhelm, Trost und Hoffnung vieler Lande,
Sey willkomm deinem Volck hie an des Pregels Rande!
Des Höchsten Ehrendienst ist wegen dein erfreut.
Verspricht Uns unter Dir die alte güldne Zeit;
Gerechtigkeit und Fried in jedem Ort und Stande
Verknüpffen dir sich fest mit einem güldnen Bande.
Du machst, daß alles wil genesen weit und breit.
In dem dein Eintzug Uns die Hoffnung aber giebet,
So wirstu billich nie von uns auch gnug geliebet;
O leb Uns werthes Haupt, sey Uns ein Sonnenschein,
Der nimmer untergeht! schon jetzt mit deiner Jugend
Dringt Fama durch die Welt, du wirst bey solcher Tugend
Nicht hie nur, sonder auch im Himmel Hertzog seyn.
Lied der Freundschaft [6]
Der Mensch hat nichts so eigen,
So wohl steht ihm nichts an,
Als daß er Treu erzeigen
und Freundschaft halten kann;
Wann er mit seinesgleichen
Soll treten in ein Band,
Verspricht sich nicht zu weichen,
Mit Herzen, Mund und Hand.
Was kann die Freude machen,
Die Einsamkeit verhehlt?
Das gibt ein doppelt Lachen,
Was Freunden wird erzählt.
Der kann sein Leid vergessen,
Der es von Herzen sagt;
Der muß sich selbst zerfressen,
Der in geheim sich nagt.
Die Red' ist uns gegeben,
Damit wir nicht allein
Für uns nur sollen leben
Und fern von Leuten sein;
Wir sollen uns befragen
Und sehn auf guten Rat,
Das Leid einander klagen,
So uns betreten hat.
Gott stehet mir vor allen,
Die meine Seele liebt;
Dann soll mir auch gefallen,
Der mir sehr herzlich gibt;
Mit diesen Bundsgesellen
Verlach' ich Pein und Not,
Geh' auf den Grund der Höllen
Und breche durch den Tod.
Ich hab', ich habe Herzen
So treue, wie gebührt,
Die Heuchelei und Schmerzen
Nie wissentlich berührt;
Ich bin auch ihnen wieder
Von Grund der Seelen hold,
Ich lieb' euch mehr, ihr Brüder,
Als aller Erden Gold.

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