03 March 2015

Ich armer Mensch gar nichtes bin

Here is my translation of the poem or hymn “Ich armer Mensch gar nichtes bin” (J. Gigas, 1564), or “…doch gar nichts bin,” a versified supplication of one who is near death. It is based on a Latin elegaic Precatio by Philip Melanchthon dating to 1555  (See Wackernagel 1:457). The six couplets which comprise the original form of the lyric are first seen at the end of an exposition by Gigas of the hymn, “Ein Kindelein so löbelich” which was published in 1564. The tune normally appointed for it in hymnals is “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht” or “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott.”

I, WRETCHED man, am naught, I own.  
    God’s Son remains my gain alone,
My hope—that He true Man was made,
    My ransom—’twas His blood that paid. 

2. O God the Father, govern me  
    With Thy good Spirit constantly; 
Allow Thy Son, my Life and Stay,
    To dwell within my heart alway. 

3. Oh, when the final hour I see,  
    Take me, Lord Jesus Christ, to Thee! 
For Thine I am, and mine Thou art—
    To meet Thee soon how longs my heart!

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

Ich armer Mensch gar nichtes bin, 
Gotts Sohn allein ist mein Gewinn.
Daß er Mensch wordn, das ist mein Trost;
Er hat mich durch sein Blut erlöst.
O Gott Vater, regier du mich
Mit deinem Geiste stetiglich.
Laß deinen Sohn, mein Trost und Lebn,
Allzeit in meinem Herzen schwebn;
Und wenn die Stund verhanden ist,
Nimm mich zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ:
Denn ich bin dein, und du bist mein,
Wie gern wollt ich bald bei dir sein.

Nil sum, nulla miser novi solatia, massam
Humanam nisi quod tu quoque, Christe, geris.

Tu me sustenta fragilem, tu Christe guberna.
Fac ut sim massae surculus ipse tuae.

Hoc mirum foedus semper mens cogitet, uno
Hoc est, ne dubita, foedere parta salus. 

14 February 2015

O Lux beata Trinitas (tres unum trium unio)

Here is my translation of the traditional office hymn at Lauds and the Hours on the feast of Holy Trinity in German (and some French) territories, "O Lux beata Trinitas (Tres unum trium unio),"—not to be confused with the shorter hymn for Saturdays in Trinitytide, "O Lux beata Trinitas," which Luther himself translated into German. I take the Latin text and melodic form from Lossius.

Image © 2015 Matthew Carver.

O BLESSED Light and Trinity,
Thou Three in One and Union trine,
Blest company of Persons Three,
All pow’r in earth and heav’n is Thine.

2. O Father unbegotten ay,
Who mak’st the world to teem and flow’r,
And o’er creation holdest sway
Through Christ, the Word of godly pow’r.

3. O Word before the world was made,
The Father’s glory Thou dost trace,
Creator by whom earth was laid,
Thou Light of hearts, Thou Fount of grace.

4. O Holy Spirit, Charity,
Thou breath and very bond of peace,
The sweetest savor flows from Thee,
True Peace and Promise, Fruit, and Kiss.

5. The Father doth His Image bear
Of equal glory, from His heart;
And from Them both, proceeding e’er,
The Holy Spirit doth depart.

6. One God and Three we worship Thee,
One Essence of Three Persons true,
One rev’rence of esteem to Three
With like acclaim we give as due.

7. To th’ unbegotten Father, God,
With Christ, the sole begotten Son,
And Holy Ghost, be praise and laud,
Eternal, triune God alone.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

1. O lux beata trinitas,
Tres unum, trium unio,
Imperialis unitas
In trium contubernio.

2. O pater innascibilis,
Natura semper pullulans,
Pondus rei vertibilis
Verbo virtutis baiulans.

3. O verbum in principio,
Paternae splendor gloriae,
Tu conditor et ratio,
Lux cordium, fons veniae.

4. O amor, sancte spiritus,
Concordiae spiraculum,
Summi dulcoris halitus,
Pax, foedus, fructus, osculum.

5. Pater gignit imaginem
Aequalem sibi penitus,
Solamque per originem
Ab ipsis differt spiritus.

6. Tres unum Deum credimus,
Unam trium essentiam,
Tribus unam impendimus
Honoris reverentiam.

7. Laus Patri sit ingenito,
Laus eius unigenito,
Laus sit sancto spiritui,
Trino Deo et simplici.

21 January 2015

Meim Herzen ists ein große Freud

Here is my translation of the hymn “Meim Herzen ists ein große Freud” (C. Becker, 1620), a paraphrase on Psalm 116. Originally written to the borrowed tune “Mag es denn nicht anders gesein” [or Mag es denn je nicht anders sein], it was eventually set by Schütz to this proper tune:

MY HEART doth mightily rejoice
For God hath always heard my voice,
In trouble, when to Him I call,
On gracious ears my prayèrs fall
He doth incline
To hear whereof I pine;
Therefore will I
Upon Him call until I die.

2. The cords of death surrounded me,
The pains of hell wrought misery;
I sank in sorrow and distress,
E’en unto death my grief did press;
But, thus appalled,
Upon the Lord I called,
And He my soul
From grief delivered, safe and whole.

3. My God is gracious, righteous e’er,
Yea, great His mercy is and fair,
His help doth godly hearts betide,
The simple may in Him confide.
I was brought low,
My God did help bestow.
Therefore ’tis best,
My soul, in God to find thy rest.

4. Great good the Lord hath done for me,
He wiped my tears of agony;
He saved my soul when death did call,
Nor suffers now my feet to fall.
Therefore, restored,
I’ll walk before Thee, Lord,
My service give,
So long as Thou wilt have me live.

5. My heart’s belief I freely own,
Before all men I make it known;
Though enemies afflict me sore,
I tremble not, but speak the more;
None need lament
The grief by which I’m pent,
For well I know
All men are liars, it is so.

6. Lord, what shall I to Thee repay
For all Thy benefits each day?
Henceforth I will receive of Thee
The cup of Thy salvation free,
Thy fame pursue
By doctrine right and true
And pay my vows
Before Thy people, in Thy house.

7. How precious in Thy sight, and fine
The death of each dear saint of Thine!
O Lord, I am Thy handmaid’s son,
Thy servant well Thy grace hath known;
For I am free,
The bond was loosed by Thee;
My thanks therefore
And praise I’ll give Thee evermore.

8. I’ll pay my ev’ry vow, as due,
Unto the Lord, a servant true,
And fain before His flock will I
Both praise His name and glorify;
With song devout
I will go in and out,
And in God’s house
Sing, Praise the Lord, God dwells with us!

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

1. Meim Herzen ists ein große Freud,
daß Gott mich höret allezeit,
wenn in der Not ich ruf zu ihm,
erhört er meines Flehens Stimm,
er neigt sein Ohr,
gibt mir in Gnad Gehör,
darum mit Dank
ruf ich ihn an mein Leben lang.

2. Des Todes Strick umfingen mich,
Höllenpein quält mich ängstiglich,
ich kam in Jammer, Angst und Not
und war betrübt bis in den Tod,
des Herren Nam
in Trübsal rief ich an,
aus Not und Pein
half er der armen Seelen mein.

3. Gnädig ist Gott, gerecht allzeit,
groß ist seine Barmherzigkeit,
den frommen Herzen hilft er wohl,
der Elend auf ihn trauen soll.
Ich war in Not,
mir half der treue Gott.
Drum, meine Seel,
in Gott dich nur zufrieden stell.

4. Guts hat der Herr an mir beweist,
hat abgewischt mein Tränen heiß,
mein Seel gerissen aus dem Tod,
hält mich, da mein Fuß glitten hat.
Drum will ich gern
für dir wandeln, mein Herr,
in deinem Dienst
solang du mir das Leben gönnst

5. Was mein Herz glaubt, bekenn ich frei
Für jederman ohn alle Scheu,
ob ich gleich drüber leid Beschwer
von Feindenwerd geplaget sehr.
Darf niemand klagn
mein Not in großem Zagn
denn ich befind
daß alle Menschen Lügner sind.

6. Wie soll ich, Herr, vergelten dir,
das Gute, so du tust an mir?
Ich will von deiner Hand fortan
den heilsamen Kelch nehmen an,
durch reine Lehr
ausbreiten deine Ehr,
mein Glübde all
vor deinem Volk ich willig zahl.

7. Für Dir sehr köstlich Ding muß sein
der Tod der lieben Heilgen dein,
Ich bin ein Sohn, Herr, deiner Magd,
Gnad deinem Knecht nicht ward versagt.
Du hast die Band
zerrissen durch dein Hand,
deß dank ich dir,
und rühm dein Namen für und für.

8. Was ich gelobt, bezahl ich recht
dem Herren als ein treuer Knecht,
will für seim Volk willig und gern
rühmen und preisen meinen Herrn.
In Gottes Haus
will ich gehn ein und aus
und singen frei:
Halleluja, Gott wohnt uns bei.

01 January 2015

Jesu, nun sei gepreiset

Here is my translation of the New Year hymn “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” (Johannes Herman, †1593). Written by a Thomaskantor of the late 16th century, it was notably used by J.S. Bach for the New Year Cantata. The appointed melody is by Melchior Vulpius (1609).

JESUS! to Thee be praises
Upon this new year’s dawn,
For all Thy loving graces
That through the year were shown
In danger, need, and sadness;
Still dost Thou deign to bless
With this new day gladness
And heav’nly blessedness.
In peace the year is ending;
We leave to Thy good tending
Ourselves both now and ever,
And pray Thee, Savior dear,
To shield us with Thy favor
Throughout the coming year! (x2)

2. May we, this year concluding,
Give glory to Thy name,
With all Thy church exuding
Fair songs to Thine acclaim.
Grant life and preservation
By Thine almighty hand,
Preserve Thy Christian nation
And save our native land!
Bestow on us Thy blessing,
Shed peace on all unceasing,
And let Thy Word salvific
In purity go forth;
Beat down the foe horrific
Both here and o’er the earth. (x2)

3. Thine only is the glory
Thine only is the praise;
Teach us to walk before Thee
Meek through the evil days;
Guide all our deeds, till, splendid
To heaven’s realm we fly
In peace and joy unblended,
To shine as saints on high;
For now make us in measure
According to Thy pleasure:
This pray’r we bring before Thee
With mouth and heart sincere
And on this day implore Thee,
Send us a blest New Year. (x2)

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

1. Jesu, nun sei gepreiset
zu diesem neuen Jahr
für dein Güt, uns beweiset
in aller Not und Gfahr.
daß wir haben erlebet
die neu fröhliche Zeit,
die voller Gnaden schwebet
und ewger Seligkeit;
dß wir in guter Stille
das alte Jahr habn erfüllet.
Wir wolln uns dir ergeben
itzund und immerdar
behüt Leib, Seel und Leben
hinfort durchs ganze Jahr. (x2)

2. Laß uns das Jahr vollbringen
zu Lob dem Namen dein,
daß wir demselben singen
in der Christen Gemein.
Wollst uns das Leben fristen
durch dein allmächtig Hand,
erhalt dein liebe Christen
und unser Vaterland!
Dein Segen zu uns wende,
Gib Fried an allem Ende,
Gib unverfälscht im Lande
Dein seligmachend Wort,
Die Teufel mach zuschanden
Hier und an allem Ort! (x2)

3. Dein ist allein die Ehre ,
dein ist allein der Ruhm;
Geduld im Kreuz uns lehre,
regier all unser Tun,
bis wir fröhlich abscheiden
ins ewig Himmelreich,
zu wahrem Fried und Freude,
den Heilgen Gottes gleich.
Indes machs uns allen
nach deinem Wohlgefallen:
solchs singet heut ohn Scherzen
die christgläubige Schar
und wünscht mit Mund und Herzen
ein seligs neues Jahr. (x2)

10 December 2014

Vox ecce clara personat / Vox clara ecce intonat

Now that the busy summer-fall season is over, I am working on a new project; in the course of which, the following composite has been required for the Advent hymn at Lauds, Vox ecce clara personat, AKA Vox clara ecce intonat. The only version found in Lutheran chant books before the Thirty Years War has the modified text, correcting some of the metrical weaknesses that would later be addressed more drastically in 17th c. revisions in the church of Rome (En clara vox redarguit). The text is from Bezelius' Magdeburg cathedral book (1613) and the tune according to its form in Lossius' Psalmodia. Since most translations are based on later or other versions of the text, alteration was necessary in order to produce a faithful rendering of the Latin. I began with Chamber's earliest translation "Lo! what a thrilling voice sounds forth," and utilized some solutions also from Copeland's better-sounding "Hark to the voice, whose thrilling tone," as well as Chambers' revised "Hark! what a thrilling voice invades." Needless to say, nothing was borrowed from the popular "Hark a thrilling voice is sounding" (or "Hark, a herald voice is calling"), despite its wide acceptance, because of its disagreement with the meter.