Plague Hymn by Ulrich Zwingli (Part 2)

When the plague struck Zurich, Switzerland in the early 16th century, Ulrich Zwingli ministered to the sick and dying. This kind of ministry was part of what he believed to be the role of a true shepherd.

Because of the contagious nature of the disease, Zwingli contracted the disease. His body began to waste away. At this point, Zwingli wrote four more stanzas to what is known as the Plague Hymn.

The first four stanzas were written by Zwingli at the outset of the disease in Zurich. In those first four stanzas, his hymn leaves his future in God’s hands. Now that he has the disease, his words reflect a¬†great spiritual warfare taking place. As you read these stanzas, ask yourself whether you would pray such things if you were facing imminent death?

Here are stanzas 5 through 8.


My pains increase,

Haste to console;

For fear and woe

Seize body and soul.


Death is at hand,

My senses fail.

My tongue is dumb;

Now, Christ, prevail.


Lo! Satan strains

To snatch his prey;

I feel his grasp;

Must I give way?


He harms me not,

I fear no loss,

For here I lie

Beneath they cross.