Neumark, Georg

Neumark, Georg a German musician and author of a great number of sacred songs, commonly heard in the evangelical churches of Germany, was born in Thuringia about the year 1621. His parents, who were poor, soon after went to reside at Mullhouse, in France, which accounts for his having often been considered a native of that city. In 1643 he went to study law at the University of Konigsberg, where Simon Dach, the centre of the Kinnigsberg school of poetry, was professor of poetry and poet-laureate. Dach was also a great musician. Under his influence the young law student became, like the professor, a musician and a poet. When a student Neumark frequently suffered for want of food. In 1651 he went to live at Hamburg. There his poverty was so great that he was obliged to pawn his violdi-gamba, a six-stringed instrument then in use, upon which he played very skilfully. In the midst of his sufferings he refused every unworthy method of seeking a livelihood, and preserved his simplicity of life and his trust in God. An attendant of the Swedish ambassador being greatly moved by a hymn which Neumark had sung, accompanying it upon his viol, which the Jew pawnbroker had permitted him to use, sought him out, learned his story, and afterwards repeated it to his master. The result was the young poet was appointed secretary of the ambassador. His first act on receiving the joyful news of his appointment was to redeem his viol. Then, as expressive of the way in which his faith had been justified by the issue, he composed his most famous hymn, Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten, translated into our tongue in the Lyra Germanica of Susanna Winkworth as "Leave God to order all thy ways." In 1651 he settled at Weimar, where he was appointed by duke William IV librarian of the royal archives. He lived a life of cheerful confidence in God, often giving expression to his pious sentiments in Christian hymns, and died at Weimar, July 8, 1681. Besides his numerous poetical productions, which were often published, Neumark wrote also some historical essays in Latin, such as Horti historici, manuale et libellus precatorius: — Comediae de Caliste et Lysandro, etc., a history of the successful society to which he belonged: — Hochsprossender poetischer Palmbaum (Nuremberg, 1670). The American Tract Society has published an English version of his hymns. See Miller's Singers and Songs of the Church; Koch, Gesch. des Kircheniejdes, volumes 1, 2, and 4; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 10:300.

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