17 September 2015

Eitle Welt, ich bin dein müde

Here is my translation of the hymn “Eitle Welt, ich bin dein müde” (E. Neumeister, 1718). The text, effectively Neumeister’s personal farewell, is based on the Epistle for the XVI. Sunday after Trinity. The stanza marked * is only found in later editions (with simultaneous omission of our stanza 4) and may be spurious. Thus both versions keep six stanzas. The tune is “Alle Menschen müssen sterben.”

O VAIN world, of thee I weary!
Much my soul desires to see
Perfect peace and rest in heaven;
God, when wilt Thou summon me?
Summon me! For I with gladness
Long to leave this world of sadness.
Through Christ’s blood my end, I know
Thou wilt blessedly bestow.

[* Death no terror has to give me,
For with life I’m satsfied;
He who may so long a measure
In this vale of tears reside
Will the passing moments number
Till the weights that him encumber
Shall dissolve, and he depart
To the pleasure of his heart.]

2 Yet I do not bear impatient
All the crosses here that weigh;
I to suffer am indebted
More than pains I here must pay;
Yet I know no suff’ring ever
From His love has pow’r to sever,
But the cross’s heavy load
Must be for my greater good.

3 I would die but for this reason:
That I may my Jesus see
And His endless health inherit;
Would that this the day might be!
Yet who knows how long the season
Till I quit life’s painful prison,
And at last complete my course
Where my road shall meet its source.

4 Though to dust my body crumbles,
I am not afraid at all,
But content that I shall waken
Any hour the Lord may call.
Jesus will the moments number
While my limbs are sunk in slumber,
And the soul abides above
In the glories of God’s love.

5 Death therefore to me is blessing
Dying is my gain, I say:
Come, ye angels, come to meet me,
Bear my soul to life away!
Even now a taste is given
Of that blessed life in heaven;
This therefore I wish alone:
That with eyes it may be known.

6 All who here with love have known me,
All to whom I was a friend ,
Those who grieve at my departing—
To God’s keeping I commend;
God sustain you, stay beside you
Guard you and all things provide you;
Now my house is set aright,
Thee I bid, vain world, Good night!

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

From a 1733 Hymnal (without spurious stanza).
A 1740 Hymnal with spurious stanza (omitting st. 4).

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