Falk D. Johann

Falk, Johannes Daniel, was born Oct. 28, 1768, at Danzig, where his father was a wig-maker. With a stipend from the Town Council of Danzig, he entered the University of Halle in 1791, where he studied the classics and theology, remaining as a private tutor for some time after completing his course. In 1798 he married and settled as a man of letters at Weimar, where he was welcomed by Herder, Goethe and Wieland, and where he gained some reputation as a writer of satirical works. During the Napoleonic wars, after the battle of Jena, 1806, Falk found his true vocation as a philanthropist, first in the field hospitals and then in the care of destitute children. With the court preacher Horn he founded the "Society of Friends in Need," and shortly thereafter began his Refuge for poor children; receiving them without restrictions as to age, birth, country or creed, and after giving them a godly industrial training sought to find the girls places as domestic servants and to apprentice the boys to trade. He lived to see the Refuge in permanent buildings (which in 1829 were made into a public training school for neglected children, under the name of Falk's Institute) and saw some 300 of his scholars fairly started in life. He died at Weimar, Feb. 14, 1826 (Kraus, pp. 120-125; Allg. Deutsche Biographie, vi. 549-551).

His hymns are few in number, but one has attained considerable popularity:— 0 du fröhliche. [For the Great Festivals.] Written in 1816, and included in his Auserlesene Werke, Leipzig, 1819, vol. i. p. 357, in 3 stanzas of 6 lines, entitled "Hymn for all the Three Festivals." Stanzas i. is for Christmas, ii. for Easter, iii. for Whitsuntide. This form is No. 667 in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, but being easy of expansion we find in the Speier Gesang-Buch 1859, No. 247, two other stanzas for each season added — in all 9 stanzas. The only translation in common use is:— Hail, thou glorious, thou victorious. A free version by Dr. Kennedy of Falk's three stanzas, with original stanzas for Sunday and for the Second Advent, in his Hymnologia Christiana, 1863. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

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