23 August 2012

Mein Seel soll loben Gott den Herrn

Here is my translation of “Mein Seel soll loben Gott den Herrn” (C. Becker), a paraphrase of the Der CXLVI. Psalm, along with a sort of epigram or summary in verse, perhaps intended as the Verse. The original title was “Fürsten seind Menschen,” i.e., Princes are Men. The melody is “Hats Gott versehn, wer will es wehrn” by Balthasar Musculus.

WHO HOPE doth place
In princes’ grace
To enter heaven’s portal
WIll find at last
In vain that trust,
For all mankind is mortal.

But he who hath
His hope by faith
In God, and doth not waver
Finds help and speed
In every need;
He shall behold God’s favor.


O PRAISE the Lord thy God, my soul,
With all my heart I’ll God extol
To God I’ll sing, Him glorify
While yet I live, until I die.

2. Put not your trust in princes, nay,
Nor hope in them to be your stay;
For they are nothing more than men,
In whom no help there is to gain.

3. The breath of man must needs go forth,
His body turns again to earth;
That very day his plans must fall,
His thoughts must perish one and all.

4. But happy is the man always
Whose Help the God of Jacob is.
Whose hope in every need and strife
Is in the Lord, the God of Life.

5. He made the heavens, earth, and sea
And all that therein e’er shall be;
In Him set all thy hope and store,
Who keepeth truth forevermore.

6. He renders justice and with haste
Defends the cause of the oppressed;
To hungry people food He gives,
The pris’ner looses, that he lives.

7. The Lord makes blind men see again,
His mighty hand doth e’er sustain
And raise up those who are downcast.
He loves the righteous to the last.

8. The strangers and the fatherless
He keeps, and shows them faithfulness;
He gives the widow comfort true,
The wicked counsel doth undo.

9. Our hopes in Him alone remain;
The Lord forevermore shall reign;
Thy God, O Zion, we will praise,
And endless Alleluias raise.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Wer sich verläßt
auf Herren Gunst
dadurch Heil zu erwerben,
der find zu letzt
das alle umsonst,
weil Menschen müßen sterben.

Wer früh und spat
allein auf Gott
setzt alle sein Vertrauen,
der findet Rath
in aller Noth,
Gotts Güte wird er schauen.


1. Mein Seel soll loben Gott den Herrn,
ich lob Ihn ja von Herzen gern,
ich will lobsingen meinem Gott
so lang ich leb, bis in den Tod.

2. Verläßt euch doch auf Fürsten nicht,
setzt nicht auf sie eur Zuversicht,
denn sie nichts mehr als Menschen sind
bei denen man kein Hülfe findt.

3. Des Menschen Geist muß doch darvon,
er wird zur Erde wiederum,
als denn sein Anschläg sind verlorn
und alles was er ihm erkorn.

4. Selig ist der zu jeder Frist
des Hülfe der Gott Jacob ist,
der sein Vertrauen in der Noth
allein setzt auf des Lebens Gott.

5. Er hat Himmel, Erd und das Meer
gemacht mit allem ihren Heer;
setzt nur auf Ihm dein Zuversicht,
denn Er hält Glauben ewiglich.

6. Er schaffet recht und hilft sobald
denen die leiden groß Gewalt,
die Hungrigen speist Er mit Brot
und wendet der Gefangnen Noth.

7. Der Herr macht sehend blinde Leut,
er liebt und schützt Gerechtigkeit,
sein starke Hand richt auf Geschwind
alle die niedergeschlagen sind.

8. Waisen und Fremdling Er behüt,
erweiset seine Treu und Güt
an armen Wittwen hochbeschewrt,
gottloses Thun zurück Er kehrt.

9. Darauf steht unser Zuversicht:
der Herr ist König ewiglich,
dein Gott, o Zion, allezeit,
Halleluja singn wir mit Freud.


Micah Schmidt said...

Great work again!

"Finds help and speed." Love it! Such a great word, speed, but sadly is an endangered word.

But as long as you're using good yet endangered words, did you know there is an English cognate to Rat/Rath? It's 'rede,' used by no less an author than Tolkien.

Here's the wiktionary link. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rede


Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Dear Micah. I am guided in word choice largely by previous hymnwriters and translators whose hymns are broadly sung. Rede is used here and there not only by Tolkien but, as I believe, in some hymns as well, and I am familiar with it, but I personally feel that it is too archaic to be used in most cases, now. Rath often means plan, counsel, or advice, or even wisdom, but can also mean solution, something like that. I am stretching it. Our language is impoverished, but it seems a greater stretch to ask singers to approve of our enrichments/restorations and at thet same time to benefit and be edified by the words without distraction. On that point, I think Thee/Thou are and remain familiar even if few know how to decline and conjugate appropriately on their own, and many would ask us to drop them as outmoded and specialized at best. I believe du/Sie/ihr developed in a separate trajectory from thu/thou/ge/ye/you based on centuries of distinct courtly rules and social customs among the nations in question rather than based on any theological connections. Thou for God and you for neighbor is English, though not media via or Cranmerian or anything. Du for God and du and Sie for neighbor is German, not an article of the Augsburg Confession. Sorry for going off on that tangent.

Thanks for reading and for your encouragement. God's blessings to you as well.

Micah Schmidt said...

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your charitable response. This is the second or third time I have questioned your style, and that is 2 or 3 too many. I sometimes find it easy to distance myself behind the computer screen and let the comments fly, whether they are Christ-like or not. Sorry.

As a matter of fact, I think your translations are great. Keep up the good work.