Hymn Information

PLEASE NOTE: Not all verses may be sung and words may vary in the particular hymn presentation.

Sleepers, Wake!
Words: Philipp Nicolai
Music: Wachet Auf | Philipp Nicolai; harmony by Johann Sebastian Bach
1. “Sleepers, wake!” the watch cry pealeth,
While slumber deep each eyelid sealeth:
Awake, Jerusalem, awake!
Midnight’s solemn hour is tolling,
And seraph-notes are onward rolling;
They call on us our part to take.
Come forth, ye virgins wise:
The Bridegroom comes, arise!
Alleluia! Each lamp be bright with ready light
To grace the marriage feast tonight.

2. Zion hears the voice that singeth
With sudden joy her glad heart springeth,
At once she wakes, she stands arrayed:
Her Light is come, her Star ascending,
Lo, girt with truth, with mercy blending,
Her Bridegroom there, so long delayed.
All hail! God’s glorious Son,
All hail! our joy and crown,
Alleluia! The joyful call we answer all,
And follow to the bridal hall.

3. Praise to Him Who goes before us!
Let men and angels join in chorus,
Let harp and cymbal add their sound.
Twelve the gates, a pearl each portal:
We haste to join the choir immortal
Within the Holy City’s bound.
Ear ne’er heard aught like this,
Nor heart conceived such bliss.
Alleluia! We raise the song, we swell the throng,
To praise Thee ages all along.


1. “Sleepers, wake!” A voice astounds us,
the shout of rampart-guards surrounds us:
“Awake, Jerusalem, arise!”
Midnight’s peace their cry has broken,
Their urgent summons clearly spoken:
“The time has come, O maidens wise!
Rise up, and give us light;
The Bridegroom is in sight.
Your lamps prepare and hasten there,
That you the wedding feast may share.”

2. Zion hears the watchman singing;
Her heart with joyful hope is springing,
She wakes and hurries through the night.
Forth he comes, her bridegroom glorious
In strength of grace, in truth victorious:
Her star is risen, her light grows bright.
Now come, most worthy Lord,
God’s Son, Incarnate Word,
We follow all and heed your call
To come into the banquet hall.

3. Lamb of God, the heavens adore you;
Let saints and angels sing before you,
As harps and cymbals swell the sound.
Twelve great pearls, the city’s portals:
Through them we stream to join the immortals
As we with joy your throne surround.
No eye has known the sight,
No ear heard such delight:
Therefore we sing to greet our King;
For ever let our praises ring.