24 May 2012

Komm, Herr Gott, Heiliger Geist

Here is my translation of the "Pentecost Prosa," "Komm, Herr Gott, Heiliger Geist" (V. Triller, mid 16th c.). By prosa Triller no doubt meant a hymn that could be used instead of the Tropus or Sequence. No melody has been discovered by me yet. It requires 777.777 (line accent: ´- ´- ´- ´) with an AABCCB rhyme structure. This puts it in a similar class, though with fewer lines, with "Weltlich Ehr und zeitlich gut." It has become clear that Triller based the meter on Veni sancte Spiritus, so I here refer that tune, until evidence of another come to the fore, and here provide a simplified form of the melody, perhaps as it might have been sung in the 16th c. by the people.

COME, Lord God and Holy Ghost,
Thee we need of all the most,
Heav’nly knowledge to obtain:
Come, teach us aright to know,
To the Father how to go,
Lest our life have been in vain.

2. Highest Pledge that we can name!
Keep us from all sin and shame,
That in us the devil’s pow’r,
Vicious anger, craft, and spite
By God’s Word be shattered quite!
Make us Thine from hour to hour,

3. Trusting Christ, true Man and God,
Who for us endured the rod
In His love and faithfulness.
To Him let us ceaselessly,
Good and faithful servants be,
Daily new in Thy good grace.

4. Heav’nly Couns’lor, strength impart
To our fainting mind and heart
In our every time of need,
Oh, grant strength in great concern
When the foe doth rage and burn,
And our life to death doth speed.

5. For without Thee in that hour
No one else on earth has pow’r
To assist in our dismay;
Purge our conscience, guilt efface
By the washing of Thy grace,
Ever keep us in Thy way.

Translation: © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Komm, Herr Gott, Heiliger Geist,
wir bedürfen dein am meist,
zu lernen die höchste Kunst:
Komm und lehr uns recht verstehn,
wie man soll zum Vater gehn,
daß wir hie nicht sein um sonst.

2. O du allerhöchstes Pfand,
behüt uns vor Sünd und Schand,
daß in uns des Teufels Reich
und sein großer Zorn und Grimm
werd zerstört durch Gottes Stimm,
daß wir aller gläuben gleich.

3. An Christum, den Mensch und Gott,
der für uns viel angst und Not
leid aus lauter Lieb und Treu,
und daß wir ihm dienen recht
als die frommen treuen Knecht
und durch dich ganz werden neu.

4. Du Göttlicher Tröster gut,
stärk uns unser Herz und Mut
in aller Trübseligkeit,
zuvor in dem Kummer groß,
wenn der Feind uns pflegt ohn Maß
in des Todes Fährligkeit.

5. Weil ohn dich in solchem Fall
ist niemand ganz überall
der bei uns solchs wirken kann.
Mach uns die Gewissen drein
durch das Bad der Gnaden dein
und halt uns auf solcher Bahn.


Walter said...

Hi Matt, You sure made me look things up with this hymn ! I always thought Luther provided the Pentecost Hymn by this title, but his translation was for the Veni Creator Spiritus and not this hymn you have chosen.
That 'Veni Creator' is the Vesper hymn & the one used for Confirmations & Ordinations etc.
This hymn is for the famous Veni Sancte Spiritus, I think ; isn't it? I compared the German with the Latin, and I see hardly anything comparable however.

I mention this only because the words Prosa and Sequentia are interchangeable in my own understanding. The Analecta Hymnica...uses the words interchangeably. The ancient Prosa of Notker's time (c.900) never did use rhyme, but ended the melody lines with words ending in the letter 'A' to echo the word 'Alleluia' which it was embellishing. The word 'sequentia' was only used later, during the time of the famous Adam-of-St-Victor for example, where rhyming and the rythmed Latin was 'de rigeur'.

In either case, a Prosa or Sequence became what the Lutheran Liturgy calls the 'Hymn of the Day', doesn't it? The only difference is that the Hymn does not 'follow' the Epistle, it precedes the Sermon.
Is this inaccurate? (ah..my questions are rhetorical; no obligation to respond, I'm just thinking out loud, as we say.)

Anyway, you make an English version here which is wunderbar.
Mozeltov, noch einmal ! Walter

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Walter, your thoughts got me to take another look at it. Yes, now I see that the "stanzas" really follow the Golden Sequence in structure. The exact meaning is not there, but Triller must certainly have had Veni Sancte Spiritus in mind when he wrote this. I think that tune would work well with it.

Walter said...

Hi Matt, yes, Triller's versification is a paraphrase. I noticed the rythm for 777D. is fairly frequent in the older hymn books too.

Blesings on the 2nd Day of Pentecost...