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Simon Dach (Hymn-Writer)

Born: July 29, 1605 - Memel (72 miles northeast of Königsberg), Prussia, Germany
Died: April 15, 1659 - Königsberg, Germany

Simon Dach received his education at the Domschule of Königsberg, studying theology and philosophy, leaving, however, for Wittenberg, when a pestilence broke out. Later he went to the gymnasium of Magdeburg. From 1626 he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Königsberg.

Simon Dach then served for a time as private tutor until 1633, when be became became affiliated with the Domschule at Königsberg, teaching philosophy and theology. He was often physically unwell. This fact together with a meager income hindered his work to a great degree. However, he found a bosom friend in Roberthin, with whose financial aid Dach was able to spend less time teaching and more time writing poetry. He was the most gifted of a group of prominent Prussian theologians, scientists, and poets known as the Königsberg School. In 1636, the same year in which he became assistant rector at the Königsberg Domschule, Dach wrote the folk-song Ännchen von Tharau ist, die mir gefällt, dedicating the same to the daughter of the pastor of Tharau, whom he had courted in vain. The poem was written in Plattdeutsch. Through the influence of Roberthin, Dach was appointed professor of poetry at Königsberg in 1639. After receiving a grant of land through Roberthin, Dach in 1641 married the daughter of a court official by the name of Pohl. The death of Roberthin in 1648 caused Dach to turn from secular to religious poetry. He was repeatedly elected dean of the faculty in the department of philosophy, and in 1656 and 1657 he served as rector of the university.

During the Thirty Years’ War East Prussia suffered less than the other provinces of Germany. This was due to the armistice entered into by Gustavus Adolphus with the King of Poland. The city of Königsberg became a haven of refuge for many, so that science and culture were permitted to flourish. Here also the cause of Evangelical hymn writing received a great impetus. In this school of hymn poets of Königsberg Simon Dach was the leading figure. He wrote upwards of 165 hymns.


Source: BCL Website [Dahle, Library of Christian Hymns; Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal; Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal]
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2003)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 464, BWV 495

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht



O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen



Links to other Sites

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook - Biographies and Sources (BCL)




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