22 July 2010

Allmächtiger ewiger Gott (der du die Welt…)

Here is my translation of the hymn “Allmächtiger ewiger Gott (der du die Welt…).” The parenthesis is to distinguish it from another Bohemian Brethren hymn, the prayer for those under papal tyranny, entitled “Allmächtiger ewiger Gott, der du nach deinem besten Rath.” Our hymn, an anonymous contribution which also appears in the Bohemian Brethren hymnal of 1566 (and again in 1606), was appointed by Ludecus (1598) for Trinity XXIII. I give the melody from 1566 below.

ALMIGHTY and eternal God
Great King of earth and heaven!
From whom the scepter and the rod,
Of government are given.
Who makest rulers rise and fall,
O Lord of lords who rulest all,
Both hour and season changing.

2. Grant Christendom in every place,
According to Thy pleasure
Wise, pious rulers, that Thy grace
May flourish without measure.
Let those who lead accept from Thee
Their pow’r, and use it fittingly,
With kindness and devotion.

3. Bestow on them Thy Spirit bold
With wisdom to imbue them.
That in them Christ may be extolled
And do His pleasure through them.
Their hearts Thou holdest in Thy hand,
So help them to enrich the land
And crush the devil’s kingdom.

4. Grant subjects also faith in Thee,
And faithfulness in labors,
First serving God, then family,
Authorities, and neighbors.
Help all to live in love and peace,
And head and body to increase
In service to Thy glory.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2010.

1. Allmächtiger ewiger Gott,
der du die Welt regierest;
von der kömmt beide Rath und That,
das Regiment du führest.
Du setzest Köning ab und ein,
bist aller Herrn ein HERR allein,
und änderst Zeit und Stunde.

2. Begnad die ganze Christenheit
nach deinem Wohlgefallen,
Mit weiser, frommer Oberkeit,
daß dein Lob mög erschallen.
Verleih, daß sie ihr Macht und Gwalt
von dir annehm und recht verwalt,
mit Güt und Ernst in allem.

3. Verleih ihr den freidigen Geist,
der sie lehr, leit und führe.
Aufdaß dein Sohn durch sie gepreist,
und über sie regiere.
Du hast ihr Herz in deiner Hand,
gib Glück und Heil zu ihrem Stand,
des Teufels Reich zurstöre.

4. Verleih auch, daß die Unterthan,
fromm sein, treu und gehorsam.
Leist Gott sein Pflicht ein jedermann,
darnach seim Herrn und seim Stamm.
Und leben all in Lieb und Fried,
das Haupt, der Leib und alle Glied,
dir, Gott, zu Ehren. Amen.


Amberg said...

Does the last verse really give the sequence you translate, or is the lord and family put together?

I love those 887 endings. It lifts the heart to battle with the devil and to sing with angels; and the excitement built up by the double octave isn't moderated at all by the need for rhyme - I love those free lines! They're so much sweeter when you being so regimented. Sometimes it's almost as if you don't know what to do with this freedom.

Write on, write on in majesty...

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Thanks! Let's see. The German says "Leist Gott sein Pflicht ein jedermann, / darnach seim Herrn und seim Stamm." I would render this literally as"Let everyone do his duty to God, then to his master (lord) and his tribe (or kinsmen)." Perhaps master and tribe are on the same level, and only in that order to make the rhyme, so maybe it should say "And family…"? Perhaps the word "tribe" suggests elder family members. Political authority is usually held by Lutherans to derive from domestic authority.

Amberg said...

My sentiments exactly. Right now it seems as if those who lead are to be obeyed before the family, whereas this would be a false dichotomy for Lutheran Theology.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

I trust my change will be satisfactory. I guess I must have left it unfinished, seeing as the rhyme was with "Thee" and I had "lead" in there.

And yes, I love those final free lines. I try to put words like "freedom" in there as much as possible (and kingdom, and glory, and... orange, and other such words with few or no good rhymes). :)

Amberg said...

Orange - ha!

that looks great, man.