10 September 2012

O Gott, mein Herre, mein Glauben mehre

Here is my translation of the supplication hymn for faith, “O Gott, mein Herre, mein Glauben mehre” (David Spaiser, 1509), set to Gastoldi’s (†1609) tune, “A lièta vita,” which in 1594 had been published in conjunction with the text “In dir ist Freude.” The tune has obvious attractions to such a Meistersinger as David Speiser with its bright romantic tone and joyful lilt (there is evidence the tune is based on a German dance form). With only eight lines of text per stanza, It seems that the first three lines of each stanza are meant to be repeated in accordance with the oriignal tune, though since the publication of “In Dir ist Freude,” texts set to this tune normally provide new lines for both sections being repeated. I have followed Spaiser’s construction here, though three extra lines per stanza would probably give the English more room to breathe, so to speak. I have assumed that the second section is not repeated musically. Unlike Spaiser, I rhyme the third line with the final line in each stanza; Spaiser himself rhymes the final accented syllable of the first two lines with the final syllable of the third, and likewise, the final accented syllables of the sixth and seventh lines with the final syllable of the eighth.

LORD GOD, I bid Thee,
Of doubting rid me,
Thy pure Word increase my faith. (x2)
When death must take me,
Do not forsake me;
Grant, I beseech Thee,
That I may reach Thee,
Through Thy beloved Son passing from death.

2. If I have solely
Thy Word so holy,
Hope and comfort my heart fill. (x2)
What higher glory,
God, is before Thee?
Thou, God, art in me,
And I am in Thee;
What can be better than Thine to be still?

3. What of possessions,
Rich acquisitions?
They but for this age remain. (x2)
Thy words of wonder
Shall here and yonder
Stand firm forever
Though men endeavor
Their course to hinder with scorn and disdain.

4. Death, hell, and devil,
All worldly evil,
By Thee, God, confounded be. (x2)
Thy grace I cherish,
And I’ll not perish,
To everlasting
Life I’ll be hasting,
Ever to sing praise and glory to Thee.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

1. O Gott, mein Herre,
Mein Glauben mehre
durch dein reine güte Lehr.
Wann ich muß scheiden,
wollest mit Leiden
abkürzen schone
in deinem Throne
durch deinen allerliebesten Sohn.

2. Wann ich nur habe
dein Wort vorabe,
gibts meim Herzen Trost und Kraft.
Was will ich mehre,
mein Gott, der Ehre,
weil du bist meine
und ich bin deine?
Wie kann und mag mir doch baß gesein?

3. Güt und auch Gelte
dein Stich nicht hälte,
sonder bleibt alles in der Welt,
aber dein Worte
bleibt hie und dorte
in Ewigkeit,
wer es auch leide
allen, die es verhassen aus Neid.

4. Teufel und Todte
werden zu Spotte
bei meim lieben treuen Gott.
Drum wenn ich sterbe,
Ich nicht verderbe,
das ewig Leben
tust du mir geben:
Sing ich dir allzeit zu Lob und Ehr.

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