Today in 1546, Martin Luther passed from this world to the next. Few knew him so well as his Philipp Melanchthon, his partner in establishing Reformation theology in Germany. Upon Luther’s death, Melanchthon wrote an elegy in Latin remembering the great defender of the faith. What follows is Henrietta Joan Fry’s 1845 translation of that poem.

Elegy on the Death of the Rev. Martin Luther, D.D.,
From the Latin of Philip Melancthon

Since Luther is no more, his cherished name
Shall from our hearts, a deathless tribute claim.
We hailed him minister of Christ, the Lord,
Jesus he preached, with faith, and taught his word.
Luther is dead! and now the church in tears
A mourner clothed in saddest garb appears.
She weeps her loved preceptor now no more,
Honoured and dear, – a father’s name he bore.
Fallen on the field the mighty chieftain lies,
And Israel’s voice proclaims his obsequies.
Then let us bathe in tears the muse’s lay
And publish forth our sorrows to the day:
It thus becomes us well – to weap and mourn
Whilst, orphans in our grief, we dress affection’s urn.


Note: The book from which this is taken, Hymns from the Reformation, by Dr. Martin Luther…, lists the author only as “the author of the ‘Pastor’s Legacy,'” but some brief research reveals her to be Henrietta Joan Fry. A full edition of the book is available online courtesty of Google books here. A handwritten note on the title page of that copy reads “By Henrietta Joan Fry.”  Confirmation comes in another 19th century work also published under the name “author of the Pastor’s Legacy” – a book called The Wells of Scripture. The 1888 Dictionary of the Anonymous and Pseudonymous Literature of Great Britain… confirms that this work, Wells of Scripture, was written by Henrietta J. Fry (p. 2802). Thus Fry must also have written Hymns from the Reformation.