25 April 2009

Mag ich Unglück nicht widerstahn

Here is my slight alteration of Winkworth's fairly strong translation of the classic hymn "Mag ich Unglück nicht widerstahn." There were just a couple lines in each stanza where she did not follow the original rhyme scheme. The hymn is ascribed to Maria, queen of Hungary, (note the highlighted acrostic in the German stanzas) and is included several times in Ludecus' Missale of 1589. I give the melody as recorded in Layriz, both the simplest version, and a version including all the variants he mentions:



MAY I my fate no more withstand,
Nor scape the hand
That for my faith would grieve me;
This is my strength, that well I know
In weal or woe
God’s love the world must leave me
God is not late, / I need but wait,
His wrath shall fall / To slay them all
Who of His Word bereave me.

2. RIghtly defend my cause this hour,
Thine is the pow’r,
God bids me strive no longer;
I know what mightiest seems today
Shall pass away,
Time than Thy rule is stronger.
Right soon God will / With peace me fill,
Here stand I shall / And venture all,
God help me thus to conquer!

3. All hath its day, the proverb saith:
This is my faith,
Thou, Christ, wilt be beside me,
And look on all this pain of mine
As were it Thine,
When sharpest woes betide me;
If I must go / On paths of woe:
World, rage! I yield! / God is my Shield,
And He will rightly guide me!

Tr. C. Winkworth, alt., M. Carver, 2009–10.


Catherine Winkworth's Original translation:
Can I my fate no more withstand,
Nor 'scape the hand
That for my faith would grieve me;
This is my strength, that well I know
In weal or woe
God's love the world must leave me
God is not far, though hidden now,
He soon shall rise and make them bow
Who of His word bereave me.

Judge as ye will my cause this hour,
Yours is the power,
God bids me strive no longer;
I know what mightiest seems to-day
Shall pass away,
Time than your rule is stronger.
The Eternal Good I rather choose,
And fearless all for this I lose;
God help me thus to conquer!

All has its day, the proverb saith:
This is my faith,
Thou, Christ, wilt be beside me,
And look on all this pain of mine
As were it Thine,
When sharpest woes betide me;
Must I then tread this path--I yield;
World, as thou wilt, God is my shield,
And He will rightly guide me!

GERMAN
1. MAg ich Unglück nicht widerstahn,
muß Ungnad han
der Welt für mein recht glauben,
so weiß ich doch, es ist mein Kunst,
Gotts Huld und Gunst,
die muß man mir erlauben.
Gott ist nicht weit,
ein kleine Zeit
er sich verbirgt,
bis er erwürgt
die mich seins Worts berauben.

2. RIcht, wie ich woll, jetzund mein Sach,
weil ich bin schwach
und Gott mich Furcht läßt finden:
so weiß ich, daß kein Gwalt bleib fest;
ists Allerbest,
das Zeitlich muß verschwinden.
Das ewig Gut
macht echten Muth;
da bei ich bleib,
wag Gut und Leib:
Gott helf mir überwinden!

3. “All Ding ein Weil” ein Sprichwort ist:
Herr Jesu Christ,
du wirst mir stehn zur Seiten,
und sehen auf das Unglück mein,
als wär es dein,
wanns wider mich wird streiten.
Muß ich denn dran
auf dieser Bahn:
Welt, wie du willt!
Gott ist mein Schild!
der wird mich wohl begleiten.

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