29 March 2010

Freuet euch, alle Christenheit

Here is my translation of the old 15th c. Easter hymn “(Nun) Freuet euch, alle Christenheit!” which is both an early example of vernacular hymnody and the basis of the great “Nun freut euch lieben Christen gmein.” My source is the Wicelii Psaltes eccl. 1550, the shorter version. There is also a 7-stanza form which is, however, slightly problematic due to some late medieval Mariolatry. In the shorter version, the second stanza indicates a vernacular response to the traditional sequence Salva festa dies, which was also known in various German versions through the Reformation period (e.g. “Also Heilig ist der Tag”). The melody is a predecessor to that used now with “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her.” You can see by the German version that there was a variation of stress in the last line. In the event of a final stress, the last syllable rhymed with the previous two lines. In the event of a final unstress (a fall), the last syllable was unrhymed, as in “Es ist das Heil.” I follow this.

1. All Christians, sing out joyfully!
God triumphed through affliction,
And loosed us by His victory
From out of hell’s constriction.
[Great] torment did our souls await,
But now our sorrow must abate,
Great bliss on us is risen.

2. This is the festive Easter Day,
None can enough adore it,
Our God holds all things in His sway,
And we must bless Him for it.
[O] Christians, lift your joyful song
And sing with all the angel throng,
For heaven’s sun shines brightly

3. O Jesus Christ, our Lord most blest!
For Thee are we rejoicing,
And all that has faith in its breast,
All Christians, now are voicing
[Glad] songs of praise and jubilee,
So sing we now right joyfully:
All praise to Thee, Christ Jesus!

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2010.

1. Freuet euch, alle Christenheit!
Gott hat nu[n] überwunden.
Die große Marter die er leidt, [Die Marter groß war uns bereit]
die hat uns nu entbunden. [die ist nu all dahin geleit.]
Große Sorge war uns bereit,
welch ist nun alle gar hingeleit,
erstanden ist uns groß Seligkeit.

2. Es ist ein osterlicher Tag, [Diesen osterlichen Tag]
den mag kein man gnug ehren. [gnug loben] [kann neimand gnug verehren]
Gott der alle Ding vermag,
sein Lob soll man gemehren.
Christen nehmen des Tags wahr
und gehen samt zu der Engel Schar,
da scheinet die liebe Sonne klar.

3. Ei du hochgelobter Jesu Christ
mit dir freun wir uns heute
und alles was da gläubig ist
das sind wir Christenleute
Mit dir so wolln wir werden froh,
frisch, fröhlich solln wir singn also:
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ.

No comments: