28 November 2012

Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #3: In All My Plans, Thou Highest

Here is excerpt #3 from Walther's Hymnal from the "Travel" subsection of the category "Estate and Vocation." In later hymnals it has been often moved to the category "Vertrauen" or "Trust" and shortened to a cento of 6 or 9 stanzas. This hymn by the gifted hymnwriter Paul Flemming (1609–1640) was first published in Teutsche Poëmata (1642), though it was written  almost a decade earlier, in 1633, during the poet's travels in the service of a German embassy that made the long and arduous journey to Moscow and all the way to Ispahan (Persia). Flemming was sent on this embassy by Duke Frederick von Holstein-Gottorf, whose brother-in-law was Czar Michael I of Russia. Several of hymnals make a cento suggesting trust in the context of life's journey, or when embarking upon marriage. 

Our translation is a composite based on that of Henry Mills (Horae Germanicae, 1856).

Note that in KELG, certain words are indicated in the last line of each stanza so that it may be sung with a slightly longer original meter; this has been replicated here, though it is preferred that it be sung to the original tune, which was formerly the setting for a German paraphrase of Psalm 6. In order to adapt the lyrics to a more popular tune, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen," one trochee was removed each final line. The shorter tune is given in Walther's Hymnal in the musical appendix. The longer tune "O Welt, ich muß dich laßen" (or "Innsbruck"), may be found in The Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship, and Lutheran Service Book.

Note: The following text, as with all in this Walther's Hymnal series, is an excerpt of a CPH publication and does not fall under the Creative Commons License.

IN ALL my plans, Thou Highest,
If counsel Thou suppliest,
My efforts may succeed:
But ev’ry best endeavor,
Without Thy smile of favor,
Can but to [surest] failure lead.

  2  No toil by day, nor sorrow
From evening till the morrow,
Nor murm’ring aught avails:
My goings,—I confide them
To Thee, my God, to guide them;
[Tow’rd faith] Thy mercy never fails.

 . . . (stanza 3 is included in the published version)

  4  Pursuing Thy direction,
I’ll trust in Thy protection,
Amid surrounding foes;
Thy promise, always near me,
With constant hope will cheer me,
Till Thou the [promised] good disclose.

 . . . (stanza 5 is included in the published version)

  6  I travel to my station,
My faraway vocation,
Which He hath bid me fill;
His blessing He shall send me,
In His direction tend me,
To serve [His world] as is His will.

  7  Though deserts wild enwreath me,
Yet Christians friends are with me,
And Christ Himself is near;
He who hath safely kept me,
And from all dangers swept me
Can [also] keep me safely here

  8  He on our way will speed us,
And on our journey lead us,
And help us as we live,
Body and health sustaining,
Time, wind, and rain ordaining,—
All things [we need] our God shall give.

  9  His angel, my protector,
Drives off each foe and specter,
And keeps them far from me 
As we by faith pursue Him,
We make our progress through Him,
Yet how, we scarcely [know or] see.

 . . . (stanzas 10–12 are included in the published version)

13  But if it please Him mainly,
And if my mind not vainly
Its whisperings express,
God I shall praise in duty
With many strains of beauty
When peace [at home] I do possess.

14  Loved ones He will be keeping
Blest while awake and sleeping,
Who is my shield and theirs;
And He will be conceding
Our common wishes, heeding
Our many [common] tearful pray’rs.

15  Be His, my spirit, wholly,
And trust His wisdom solely,
Who has Thy being blest:
Whate’er on earth be given,
Thy Father rules in heaven,
Appointing what [for thee] is best.

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