12 March 2017

O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt

Here is my translation of “O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt” (M. Franck, 1627), a hymn in 10 stanzas loosely based on the Passion hymn to the members of Christ's body traditionally ascribed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, from which several independent hymns have also appeared in German renderings and English translations, most notably Gerhardt's “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,” usually sung in English as “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.” It is interesting to note that our hymn is used in BWV 1094, one of the so-called Neumeister or Arnstädter chorales discovered in 1984. That this prelude on the chorale is thought to be from the time when Bach was working in Arnstadt, in the vicinity of Gotha, makes sense, given the early inclusion of the hymn in the Gotha cantional. The complete hymn presented here manages to include the most significant ideas from Bernard’s hymn into a uniform whole, framed in the more majestic than somber melody of Philip Nicolai, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.


A proper melody was also written for it by Melchior Franck and appeared in the Cantionale Sacrum, vol. 1 (Gotha, 1646), viz.:

However, the desired effect of this cantional tune is best achieved with full complement of harmonization.


O JESUS, round Thy sacred Frame
So full of suffering and shame,
I trace Thy wounds deep-riven!
Thy Body, holy, pure, and fair
Now stretched upon the Cross and bare,
Hath shed all gleam of heaven—
Thence I
Sense Thy
Love and yearning,
Freely burning,
And would love Thee,
For that love that thither drove Thee.

2 Where Thou art nailed upon the tree,
I come, and kneel this hour to see
Thy scars so freely spilling:
O God the Son, the Lamb of God!
That for my sake to Calv’ry trod
With ready heart and willing!
Gravely,
Bravely,
Let me borrow
Of Thy sorrow,
And, thus mourning,
Kiss Thy feet, Thy love returning.

3 O Jesus, though Thy Knees are frail,
Thy pledge is firm and cannot fail,
Death could not bend or break Thee;
I stand before Thy wooden throne
Desiring Thee my God to own
And as my Lord to take Thee.
Draw me
To Thee:
Let me hurry
And not tarry,
But adore Thee,
And in patience live before Thee.

4 O Jesus, how Thy Arms of grace
Are spread to all the human race,
With crimson fountains flowing!
If but the smallest droplet drains
From all the oceans of Thy veins
Upon my evildoing—
Then would
sin’s flood—
Indiscretions,
All transgressions—
Swiftly vanish;
Such its pow’r, all sin to banish.

5 O Jesus, how Thy Hands unfurled
Are seen from far across the world,
Thy grace so freely off’ring;
Oh! that I might, when sorrows throng
Or joys abound, my whole life long
Gaze on those hands of suff’ring:
Daily
Make me
With repenting
And lamenting
Here to laud Thee
And to clasp Thy noble Body!

6 O Jesus, that Thy Side so dear,
Cut open by the savage spear,
Should turn so pale and ashen!
Inside that cleft my soul would crawl
And pass into the royal hall
By gates of kingly fashion,
Whose Life
Flows rife,
Where are given
Grace and heaven,
Waters spilling,
Fonts with pure salvation filling.

7 O Jesus, Thy tormented Breast
By sting of whip and scourge oppressed,
Paid for our wicked pleasure:
The Seat of very Deity
Is made the fount of mercy free,
And stricken out of measure:
Take me,
Make me
Thine forever,
Parting never,
Guide my motion
As Thy limb with true devotion.

8 O Jesus, how Thy Heart was pained,
And in Thy faithfulness constrained
By flames of love undying,
When pangs of death Thy soul assailed,
And stings of hell against Thee railed,
Thy precious life denying!
Let my
heart fly
From all anguish
Where I languish,
Lift my spirit
And renew it by Thy merit.

9 O Jesus, how Thy Face, so scorned,
And sacred Head so cruelly thorned,
Disgrace and shame me ever!
For I deserved such mockery,
But Thou didst bear it all for me,
And wonst the Father’s favor!
Show Thy
Dear eye,
Look with kindness
On my blindness,
Grace bestowing
As on her whose tears were flowing.

10 O Jesus, vouchsafe now to come
And in me seek Thy bed and home,
All anguish hence dispelling;
Rest in my heart, Thy hallow’d shrine—
And there reside, and make it Thine—
To be Thy constant dwelling,
Till I
Will, Thy
Suff’ring sharing,
Forth be faring,
There to praise Thee
Oh, that I might now embrace Thee!

Translation © 2017 Matthew Carver.

GERMAN

1 O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt
in Marter hoch und mannigfalt,
mit wunden tief verheeret!
Der Leib von Heiligkeit so groß
Am Kreuz ist ausgespannet bloß,
hat seinen Glanz verzehret,
herzlich,
schmerzlich,
Ist dein Liebe,
heiß und trübe,
reich von Gaben,
die dich an das Holz erhaben.

2 Weil du denn angehäftet bist,
erscheine ich zu dieser Frist,
zu schauen deine Wunden,
die du für mich am Kreuzes Stamm,
O Gottes Sohn, o Gottes Lamm!
gar williglich empfunden:
setz mich
ernstlich
ohne Scheue,
doch mit Reue,
zu dein Füssen,
will aus Gegenlieb sie küssen.

3 O Jesu, schwach sind deine Knie,
doch stark die Treu, so stark, daß sie
der Tod nicht konnte neigen:
drum steh ich vor des Kreuzestron,
und will für meinem Herren schon
die Knie in Demut beugen:
Hilf mir
zu dir,
daß ich eile
und nicht weile,
dich zu lieben,
mein Herz mit Geduld zu üben.

4 O Jesu, wie sind deine Händ
zu allen Menschen hingewendt,
und tun von Purpur fliessen!
Wenn doch sich möcht ein Tröpfelein
vom hohen Meer des Blutes dein
nach meiner Schuld ergießen:
herrlich,
klärlich,
soll die Sünde,
ganz geschwinde
hier auf Erden
durch ein Strohm verschwemmet werden.

5 O Jesu, weit sind aufgetan
dein Händ, von fern man schauen kann
Genade sie ausbieten.
Ach! daß ich sollt mein ganze Zeit
in Trübsal und in Frölichkeit
der schönen Hände hüten:
Täglich,
kläglich,
doch mit Freuden
in dem Leiden
zu dir nahen
und den edlen Leib umfahen.

6 O Jesu, daß die Seite mild,
eröffnet mit dem Speere wild,
in Todesfarb verblichen:
mein Seel hat ihr gesetzet vor,
darein, wie durch ein Königstor,
zu laufen und zu kriechen:
weil dort
die Pfort,
so das Leben
uns tut geben,
weil die Quelle
den Heilbrunnen bringet helle.

7 O Jesu, dein geängste Brust
mit Geisseln hat die schnöde Lust
gebüsset und getragen:
der Gottheitstuhl ist sie bereit,
ein Kasten der Barmherzigkeit,
von höchster Pein zerschlagen:
nimm mich,
daß ich
deinem Leibe
stätig bleibe
eingewunden,
und mit Andacht dir verbunden.

8 O Jesu, mit was großem Schmerz
bezwungen ward dein treues Herz
mit Liebesflamm umgeben,
als in dich drang des Todespein
mit Grimm, der in der Höll mag sein,
und nahm dir ab das Leben:
Wende,
ende
allen Schmerzen
in mein Herzen,
das erfreue,
meinen Geist in mir erneue.

9 O Jesu, dein klar Angesicht
geschändt, mit Dornen zugericht
das Haupt, mich ganz verhöhnen.
Denn da ich hatte das verschuldt,
erwarbst du mir des Vaters Huld,
dein wollst du nicht verschonen:
Schau mich
freundlich,
wie geschehen,
hast gesehen
Magdalenen:
nach dir tut mein Herz sich sehnen.

10 O Jesu, steig herab zu mir,
in mir dein Ruhbett suche dir,
ich will dich sanft begraben,
tief in meins Herzens besten Schrein,
da sollt du sein, da mußt du sein,
dein stete Stelle haben,
bis ich
endlich
mit dir leide
und abscheide,
dich zu loben.
Ach, wär ich nur bei dir droben!

19 August 2016

O Wonder, O Great Mystery

Here is an original hymn, so to speak. It is actually based on Chrysostom’s 46th Homily on John (6:52), sect. 3 & 4. I divided the pertinent sections into two hymns of different meters, the first being in the common German bar meter, 87.87.887. I think the most appropriate of the many available melodies is “Herr, wie du willst, so schicks mit mir.”


O WONDER, O great Mystery!
Behold what here is given,
That we may all one Body be
With Christ the Lord of heaven,
And members of His flesh and bone—
In deed and not in love alone—
Let us in Him be mingled!

2 This wonder comes by this great meal
Which here His hands afford us,
That by it we might know and feel
How great His love is tow’rd us,
He blends with us whom here He feeds,
His Body with our body kneads—
In Him, the Head, uniting.

3 What proof of love could He give more
To hearts that would enfold Him?
He grants to those who Him adore
Not only to behold Him,
But even more, to touch, and taste
Yea, eat His flesh, and thus embraced,
To find their longing sated.

4 From Jesus’ table forth we go
Like fire--breathing lions,
Made fearsome to the evil foe
And mocking his defiance:
Our hearts are bold and comforted,
Remembering our Lord and Head,
And all His love here shown us:

5 “I feed you not as fathers feed,
Their babes to nurses sending;
But with My very flesh indeed
I feed you life unending,
That you may all be nobly born
And hopeful in that blessed morn
When I shall come to fetch you.”

6 For He who gives Himself to you
Here in His true Communion
Much more will give in mansions new,
When perfect is that union:
“For you your Brother I became,
Your flesh and blood, and give the same
By which I’m made your kinsman.”

7 This Blood in us makes fresh and clear
The image of our Master,
Producing beauty without peer,
Permitting no disaster
To spoil our soul’s nobility
It waters it continually
And unto life sustains it.

8 This Blood, unlike all earthly food,
Our souls doth quench and nourish.
And causes in us, for our good,
Its mighty pow’r to flourish,
Drives devils to the farthest coast
And calls to us the angel host
And Christ, the Lord of angels.

9 For where the Savior’s Blood they see
All devils flee in terror
And angels hasten speedily
Regarding nothing fairer.
This Blood washed all the world of sin,
And cleansed the secret place within,
Yea, e’en the Holy_of Holies.

10 If blood of beasts had pow’r to save
In God’s own temple bloody,
And in the midst of Egypt old
Smeared on the door-post ruddy—
Much more the true Reality
Which on the altar here we see,
Brings healing, life, and blessing!

11 This Blood the altar hallowèd
Where lay the bull dissected;
The secret place no priest would tread
Save by this Blood protected;
It consecrated ev’ry priest,
Yea, cleansed all sin until it ceased,
In type and shadow working.

12 Behold, if types possessed such might,
If shadows had such powèr
That even death must shake with fright,
Oh, how would death not cowèr
The very truth to witness here,
Where its Fulfilment doth appear
And death itself is banished?

13 This Blood our soul’s salvation is,
Its bath, its beautifying,
It stokes the heart with holy bliss,
To burn with flame undying,
It makes the soul gleam more than gold.
This Blood outpoured doth heav’n unfold,
And open access grant us.

Text: © 2016 Matthew Carver.




08 August 2016

Ite, Benedicti et Electi

Here is my translation of the Bohemian Brethren hymn “Ite, Benedicti et Electi” (1566), a vernacular trope of the old Dismissal formula Ite, missa est. It appears in Kirchengeseng (1580 ed.), folio 198v with another Dismissal trope to the same melody. Which melody, as may be noted, follows, according to ancient usage, that of the Kyrie, found in op. cit., folio 180r, with the title “Kyrie magnae Deus potentiae,” (= Vat. ed. “Kyrie V”) the translation beginning “O Vatter der barmhertzigkeit . . .” Here, in the section titled Betgesenge (“prayer songs”) it seems to be appointed for use on a penitential occasion, possibly a day of Humiliation & Prayer, or else an Embertide mass (if indeed they celebrated any as such).



GO YOU blessed, with one accord,
O saints elect in Christ the Lord!
Go in peace and joy today,
God guide you all your way!

2 Blessed be, and blessed again,
Your going out and going in,
Blessed, all that shall be done
Through Christ, God’s very Son!


3 He, our Lord and Savior bestow
That we at last to heav’n may go;
His the glory, ours the gain,
For evermore! Amen.

Translation © 2016 Matthew Carver.

GERMAN
1. Geht hin die jhr gebenedeit,
vnd in Christo außerwehlt seyd,
geht hin mit freuden in fried,
Er richt all ewer trit.

2 Gesegnet ist ewer außgang,
gesegnet ist ewer eingang,
gesegnet all ewer thun,
durch Christum Gottes Son.

3 Derselb vnser HERR vnd Heiland,
führ vns ein ins recht Vatterland,
zu lob vnd ehr seim Namen,
in ewigkeit Amen.

Ite, Benedicti et Electi

Here is my translation of the Bohemian Brethren hymn “Ite, Benedicti et Electi” (1566), a vernacular trope of the old Dismissal formula Ite, missa est. It appears in Kirchengeseng (1580 ed.), folio 198v with another Dismissal trope to the same melody. Which melody, as may be noted, follows, according to ancient usage, that of the Kyrie, found in op. cit., folio 180r, with the title “Kyrie magnae Deus potentiae,” (= Vat. ed. “Kyrie V”) the translation beginning “O Vatter der barmhertzigkeit . . .” Here, in the section titled Betgesenge (“prayer songs”) it seems to be appointed for use on a penitential occasion, possibly a day of Humiliation & Prayer, or else an Embertide mass (if indeed they celebrated any as such).



GO YOU blessed, with one accord,
O saints elect in Christ the Lord!
Go in peace and joy today,
God guide you all your way!

2 Blessed be, and blessed again,
Your going out and going in,
Blessed, all that shall be done
Through Christ, God’s very Son!


3 He, our Lord and Savior bestow
That we at last to heav’n may go;
His the glory, ours the gain,
For evermore! Amen.

Translation © 2016 Matthew Carver.

GERMAN
1. Geht hin die jhr gebenedeit,
vnd in Christo außerwehlt seyd,
geht hin mit freuden in fried,
Er richt all ewer trit.

2 Gesegnet ist ewer außgang,
gesegnet ist ewer eingang,
gesegnet all ewer thun,
durch Christum Gottes Son.

3 Derselb vnser HERR vnd Heiland,
führ vns ein ins recht Vatterland,
zu lob vnd ehr seim Namen,
in ewigkeit Amen.

30 July 2016

Wohlauf, die ihr hungrig seid!

Here is my translation of the Bohemian Brethren Communion hymn “Wohlauf, die ihr hungrig seid,” which is found in Kirchengeseng (1566) as well as modern German hymnals.



COME, all ye who hungry be,
And who have thirst for salvation free:
Come and hasten to the Supper spread,
With strength in sorrow be fed!

2 For our dear Lord Jesus Christ
Has spread for us this resplendent feast,
In the Body and the Blood He gave,
Union with Jesus we have.

3 He this Sacred Myst’ry made
In the same night when He was betrayed,
Ere He gave His Body and His Blood
To death, procuring our good.

4 Food His Body to our soul,
His precious Blood drink to make us whole,
Taken with God’s peace and joy within,
Not in the leaven of sin.

5 Eat and drink this solemn tide,
Mindful of how bitterly He died
Ye who follow here the Lord’s command,
In faith obediently stand.

6 Come, partake of heav’nly Food
With heart’s devout, as a Christian should,
In true faith, with love, and hope assured
That here your woes are all cured.

*7 Pray ye: “O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who, to atone, once wast sacrificed,
Fill us with the grace which Thou didst win,
Serve us Thy succour for sin.

8 Thou the very Bread of heav’n,
Baked on the Cross, in God’s anger riv’n,
Thou the Wine that wrath divine expressed,
Giving us heavenly rest.

9 Thou the very Paschal lamb,
Roasted in love on the Cross of shame,
Thou the true burnt-off’ring God receives,
Held by the heart that believes.

10 Sweet the savour from Thy Gift,
By which God deigned, sin’s dread curse to lift,
Which arising to the Father’s throne,
Covered the sins we have sown.

11 Thou the Mercy-seat on high,
Bliss to the soul, source of ev’ry joy,
Peace with God in Thee we now possess,
Open approach to His grace.

12 Thou that grace hast here assured,
Lord, by the means which that grace procured.
By the Blood and Body to us sealed,
Which into death Thou didst yield.

13 For our food Thy grace is lent
In manner seen in this Sacrament,
Which our spirit apprehends by faith,
With comfort stronger than death.

14 God forgets iniquity,
And through Thee, Lord, He will gracious be,
Pardon sin and shame, and quench hell-fire;
And souls with gladness inspire.

15 This, Christ, is Thy testament
Which Thou didst make ere Thy dear life was spent,
It was written in Thy precious blood,
Sealed by Thy death for our good.

16 Lord, how were Thy flock sustained
Better than as Thou hast here ordained?
Thou dost quicken hearts that would repine,
With all Thy treasures divine.

17 Laud and praise, be ever Thine,
Lord, for this gift and this meal divine,
In the strength thereof, keep us always!
Thine be the glory and praise!
Amen.

Translation © 2016 Matthew Carver.

GERMAN

1 Wohlauf, die ihr hungrig seid,
und dürstig nach euer Seligkeit,
kommt und eilt zum großen Abendmahl,
stekrt euch in eurem Trübsal.

2 Denn unser Herr Jesus Christ
hat zubereit ein herrlichen Tisch
an dem man hält durch des Glaubens Kraft,
seins Leibs und Bluts Gmeinschaft.

3 Welchen er bereitet hat,
als er sich wollt opfern in den Tod,
da setzet er ein das Sakrament,
seins Leibs und Bluts, vor seim End.

4 Sein Leib ein Speis unser Seel
Sein Blut ein Trank zum ewigen Heil:
welchs wir solln empfahn in Fried und Freud,
nicht im Saurteig der Bosheit.

5 Demnach so kommt eßt und trinkt,
seins bittern Todes dabei gedenkt,
die ihr nachs Herrn Regel einher geht
ins Glaubens gehorsam steht.

6 Kommt und genißt dieser Speis,
mit rechter Andacht Christlicher weis,
mit wahrem Glauben, Lieb und Hoffnung,
zu euers Heils Versichrung.

7 Sprecht, o Herre Jesu Christ,
der du das Söhnopfer worden bist,
sättig uns mit der erworbnen Gnad,
schenk uns all deine Wohltat.

8 Du bist das recht Himmelbrot
am Kreuz gebacken in Leidens Not
der Wein gekeltert in Gottes Zorn
drinn wir sonst wären verlon.

9 Du bist das recht Osterlamm,
in Lieb gebraten ans Kreuzes Stamm,
das Brandopfer, welchs Gott wohlgefällt,
daran sich unser Glaub hält.

10 Davon der lieblich Geruch
(welcher hinweg nimmt der Sünden Fluch)
kommen ist vor Gottes Angesicht

11 Bist und bleibst der Gnadenstuhl,
geistlicher Wollust und Freuden voll:
durch dich haben wir mit Gott ein Fried,
zu ihm ein freien Zutritt.

12 Du versiegelst uns, Herr Christ,
dein Gnad, dadurch sie erworben ist:
nämlich, durch dein eigen Fleisch und Blut,
welchs du hast geben in Tod.

13. Das gibstu uns selbs zur Speis,
durch dies Sakrament sichtbarer weis:
welches unser Geist im Glauben faßt,
und schöpft draus ewigen Tröst.

14. Freut sich solcher großen Gnad,
das Gott nicht mehr denkt der Missetat:
sondern wöll durch dich genäidig sein,
nachlassen Sünd, Schuld und Pein.

15 Das ist nu das Testament,
welchs du gemacht hast vor deinem End
und verschrieben mit deim teuren Blut,
versiegelt durch deine Tod.

16 Wie hätt doch Herr dein Gemein,
besser allhie möcht versorget sein:
denn das du selbs erquickst unser Herz,
durch deine göttliche Schätz?