Swiss Anthem (Schweizerpsalm) by

by Text Schweizerpsalm by Albert (P. Alberich) Zwyssig, 1808-1854
1. Trittst im Morgenrot daher,
Seh' ich dich im Strahlenmeer,
Dich, du Hocherhabener, Herrlicher!
Wenn der Alpen Firn sich rötet,
Betet, freie Schweizer, betet.
|: Eure fromme Seele ahnt :|
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!
3. Ziehst im Nebelflor daher,
Such' ich dich im Wolkenmeer,
Dich, du Unergründlicher, Ewiger!
Aus dem grauen Luftgebilde
Bricht die Sonne klar und milde,
|: Und die fromme Seele ahnt :|
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!
2. Kommst im Abendglühn daher,
Find' ich dich im Sternenheer,
Dich, du Menschenfreundlicher, Liebender!
In des Himmels lichten Räumen
Kann ich froh und selig träumen;
|: Denn die fromme Seele ahnt :|
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!
4. Fährst im wilden Sturm daher,
Bist du selbst uns Hort und Wehr,
Du, allmächtig Waltender, Rettender!
In Gewitternacht und Grauen
Laßt uns kindlich ihm vertrauen!
|: Ja, die fromme Seele ahnt :|
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!

official national anthem of Switzerland since 12. Sepember 1961

this page is part of

The story of the Swiss national anthem
How a church hymn became a national anthem

In the summer of 1841, Alberik Zwyssig (1808-1854), a priest and composer from
Uri, was visiting his brother at St. Carl, a magnificent patrician’s house at
the gates of Zug, when he received mail from Leonhard Widmer (1809-1867), a music
publisher, journalist and lyricist from Zurich. The mail contained a patriotic
poem that Widmer had written and wanted set to music. Zwyssig chose to use a hymn
that he had composed to the psalm "Diligam te Domine" (I will love Thee,
O Lord) for an ordination service in 1835 when he was music director at the monastery
in Wettingen. He worked on his adaptation until late autumn. Finallly, "on
the evening of St. Cecilia's day, Monday, November 22, 1841 in the first-floor
study at St. Carl overlooking the lake and the city", Zwyssig rehearsed his "Schweizerpsalm"
[Swiss Psalm] for the first time with four residents of Zug.
In 1843, the new patriotic song appeared in the celebration brochure
of the Zurich Zofinger marking the anniversary of Zurich’s membership
into the Swiss Confederation in 1351. (The Zofinger association is
the oldest Swiss student fraternity). It was also performed at the
National Singing Festival in the same year, where it was received
with acclaim by the audience. The "Swiss Psalm" was soon
performed by male choirs throughout Switzerland (thanks to translations)
and was frequently sung at patriotic celebrations. Numerous attempts
were made between 1894 and 1953 to have it declared the Swiss national
anthem, but they were consistently turned down by the Swiss government
for the reason that a national anthem should not be selected by government
decree but by popular opinion. In fact, there was another song that
was used for official political and military occasions at that time
which was equally popular. "Rufst Du mein Vaterland"[When
My Fatherland Calls] was sung to the same melody as "God save
the King (Queen)", which occasionally led to embarrassing situations
as international contacts increased during the course of the 20th
It was for this reason that the Swiss government declared the "Swiss Psalm",
a fully and unmistakably Swiss creation, the provisional Swiss national anthem
in 1961. Following a three-year trial period twelve cantons (or states) voted
in favor of the "Swiss Psalm", seven requested an extension of the trial
period and no less than six rejected it as the official national anthem. In spite
of these mixed reactions, the "Swiss Psalm" was confirmed (provisionally)
as the Swiss national anthem in 1965. The provisional clause was abandoned ten years later, but without official ratification as the national anthem. A number
of other suggestions for a national anthem were made in the years that followed,
none of which, however, earned nearly as many votes as the "Swiss Psalm".
Finally, on April 1, 1981, the "Swiss Psalm" was officially declared the Swiss
national anthem, "a purely Swiss song, dignified and ceremonial, the kind
of national anthem that the majority of our citizens would like to have."
The text of the "Swiss Psalm"
Leonhard Widmer's German text and its (at times rather free) translations
in the other three national languages speak of the many timeless natural
beauties of Switzerland - the magnificent Alps, the calm lakes, the
fertile pastures - of the peace that its inhabitants find here, and
of the divine gift which it represents.

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