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     Spee, Nach Friedrich von (25th February 1591-7th August 1635)

    He was a poet and Jesuit theologian born in Kaiserwerth, Germany.  He studied in Cologne and in 1610 joined the Society of Jesus where he would take further education and work as a teacher in various locations in Germany.  In 1622 he was ordained as a priest and in 1624 he took the position of professor at the University of Paderborn.  In 1626 he started preaching in Cologne, Hildesheim and Paderborn and he also taught in several German towns and cities.  He made his voice heard as an opponent of witch trials and torture and during the Thirty Years War, in 1629, he experienced an assassination attempt. After this happened he worked on his writings and he is most remembered for his Latin written Cautio Criminalis, which is possibly based on his own experience of witch trials.  The work was published uncredited in 1631 and he had never given his permission for this to happen, but it is known that after it became recognised in cities such as Mainz, with burning was abolished.  He returned to his duties as a professor and preacher and in 1633 he went to Trier.  Trier was stormed in 1635 and he became known for caring for those who suffered at the hands of the forces, but sadly he caught an infection while working in a hospital where people suffered illnesses such as plague and died shortly after when he was just 44.  As a poet and lyricist he wrote the books Goldenes Tugendbuch (Golden Book of Virtues) and Trutznachtigal (In Disregard of Nightingales) and his most famous piece that is still heard to day is the Christmas carol "Wals ich bei meinen Schafen wacht" which is known by the names "While By The Sheep", "How Great Our Joy" and "Echo Carol".

     

    While By The Sheep recordings

    Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra

    Decca B0003552-02 (CD: A Leroy Anderson Christmas)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.controverscial.com/Friedrich%20von%20Spee.htm
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_von_Spee
    3. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14213b.htm
    4. http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/while_by_the_sheep.htm

     

     

     

     



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