A look at hearts and their genealogy, history, folk art and archeology, with German language translations.
O Noble Heart, Consider Thy End
O noble heart, contemplate thine end who knows how near.
I give my heart to Jesus, in Jesus I constantly live. And Jesus is my refuge. Jesus my last word.
Considered a romantic symbol today, in the 1700s the heart carried a more personal religious connotation. In both the Luther and King James versions of the bible the heart was used to denote the part of a person where belief, faith, love of God and emotions resided. In Pennsylvania German art the heart became synonymous with the person. It was very popular with the Fraktur artists who used it to enclose personal information, verses and sayings on Taufschein (birth certificates), Trauschein (marriage certificates) and Vorschrift (religous and instructional writings).
On Pennsylvania German gravestones the heart was used as a representation of the person buried beneath the stone and, as such, was often coupled with other attributes and symbols to form a sort of pictorial story. You find hearts rising like the sun and hearts with wings. Hearts were often coupled with stars, lilies and roses, all symbols of Christ. Like most of the symbols popular with the Pennsylvania Germans in the 1700s, the use of hearts all but disappeared after the 1850s.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Luke 21, 26-28
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Copyright ©1985-2005 Sandra J. Hardy. All rights reserved.