24 March 2012

Dies ist der Tag / Haec est dies quam

Here is my translation of the antiphon-hymn “Dies ist der Tag” (tr. C. Spangenberg, †1604), itself a Germanicization of the Annunciation Antiphon Haec est dies quam, etc. Spangenberg’s text (as given by Wackernagel) represents a significant expansion of the original, much like a farce or trope. Note however the change in stanza , where probably for doctrinal reasons the poetic contrast of two "femina"s has been omitted. Spangenberg seems to have intended each syllable of the German to match one note of the original tune, much in the same way as the Bohemian Brethren adapted Gregorian melodies, but eliminated the difficulty of learning and singing melismas by turning them into syllabic phrases. I have mostly followed the German in dividing lines, but not having the exact version of the melody used by Spangenberg, I have chosen in some places to divide lines at more logical points following the Latin text. The melody I give here is transcribed for modern notation from a book (prob. an Antiphoner) printed in Augsburg ca. 1580, where the Antiphon appears for the Benedictus on the Feast (apparently in a variation of canticle tone VIII).

THIS IS the day,—
The holy, gracious and most blessed day,—
Which God hath made,
Before the world’s foundations were laid.

2. This day the good and merciful God did His creation prize,
In lovingkindness turning His godly eyes
Upon His poor people’s heaviness, anguish, and need,
And from death, devil, sin, and hell His people freed.

3. This day with might,
In human vesture, as right,
God’s only Son dispelled eternal death from hence,
Which Eve had ushered into this world by disobedience.

4. This day God the Father’s only Son a true Man was made,
Nor did what He e’er had been diminish or fade;
What He was not
Into His own self He brought.

5. Therefore, dear Christians, let us celebrate
In spirit and truth, and most rev’rent state,
With faith, love, and gladness great,
The Source of our Righteousness,
Grace, Redemption, and true Blessedness;
And, from our inmost heart giving God our thanks,
Sing to Him in united ranks:
“Praise, honor, and glory be to Thee, Lord God, forever.”

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2012.

1. Dies ist der Tag,
der gnadenreich heilig selige Tag,
den vor der Welt
Gott der Almächtiger Herr hat gemacht.

2. Heute hat der wohltätiger barmherziger Gott
mit sein Göttlichen Augen freundlich angesehn
seins elenden Volkes Beschwerung, Angst und Not
und vom Teufel, Tod, Sünd, Höll gnädiglich erlöst.

3. Heut hat mit Gwalt
in menschlicher Form und Gestalt
Gotts einiger Sohn den ewigen Tod verjagt,
den Eva durch ungehorsam in diese Welt hat gebracht.

4. Heutzutag ist Gottes des Vaters einiger Sohn Mensch worden:
was er war, das bleibt er ohn Ende,
immer und ewig,
was er nicht war nahm er in der Zeit an sich.

5. Darum, ihr lieben Christenleut,
bedenket ernstlich heut
im Geist und Wahrheit,
Glauben, Lieb und herzlicher Freud
unser Gerechtigkeit,
Gnad, Erlösung und Seligkeit Anfang,
und laßt uns von Herzen Gott sagen Dank,
allzugleich singen Gott in dieser Zeit:
“Lob, Ehr und Preis sei dir, Herr Gott, in Ewigkeit.”

1. Haec est dies quam fecit Dominus.
2. Hodie Dominus afflictionem populi sui respexit et redemptionem misit.
3. Hodie mortem quam femina intulit femina fugavit.
4. Hodie Deus homo factus : id quod fuit permansit : et quod non erat assumpsit
5. Ergo exordium nostrae redemptionis devote recolamus : et exultemus dicentes: Gloria Tibi Domine.

1 comment:

Walter said...

Matt, This is a brilliant piece. It needs to be in a Hymn Book ! -- well, like everything you're doing. I love the structure you put to the adapted music and I agree about all the 'melisma' thing; best to put words to the melody here & I like your verse 4 translation which is both poetic, thought provoking and good theology that most people ignore. It picks up on that famous phrase in the Athanasian Creed; 'taking manhood into God' not converting
God into man.