09 May 2017

Mit Freuden zart

Here is my expansion and emendation of the Easter hymn "With High Delight Let Us Unite" (G. Vetter, d. 1599). The translation by M. Franzmann (© 1969 CPH) consisted of three stanzas, the first two and the final one. In order to illustrate the pious acrostichon (MEDIATOR IESUS) embedded in the original 13-stanza hymn, I have altered the first lines of Franzmann's stanzas and presented them here, as well as translated the ten remaining, observing the constraint of preserving the acronym.
Further information is found here.
The German is found here.
The original instance in the Bohemian Brethren hymnal, Kirchengeseng (1566).

MAY we unite with high delight
In songs of sweet jubilation!
Ye pure in heart, all bear your part,

Sing Jesus Christ, our Salvation.

To set us free forever, He

Is ris’n and sends to all earth's ends
Good news to save ev’ry nation.

2 Earth's Lord, He first from death has burst

Forth into life, all subduing.

His Enemy doth vanquished lie;

His death has been death's undoing.

“His saints shall see like victory
O'er death and grave," said He, who gave

His life for them, life renewing.

3 Deliv’rance theirs —gone are their cares,
Their hellish bonds now are broken.
From Satan’s lie and shame they fly,
By Christ their Head being woken.
To Him, their Lord, they praise accord
And gladly live, their lives to give
Of all their thanks but a token.

4 In peace, we know, as He did go
So He to life soon shall send them,
His righteousness and glorious dress
By His arising He will lend them.
Now sin and hell and death as well
Have been repealed; and He, their Shield,
Will no more let fear offend them.

5 At Calvary, upon the Tree—
He by His death there did nail them,
Now led in tow, a sorry show,
His foes as Victor must hail Him.
To heav’n again He’ll lead His train
Where ev’ry tongue, both old and young,
With hymns of praise shall regale Him.

6 To soothe our heart, He will impart
The treasures of His good favor;
He shall our flesh with life refresh,
To joy in heav’n’s bliss forever;
We will be raised with eyes amazed
To see our Lord, our limbs restored,
Our members shall perish never.

7 Our bodies now may frailly bow,
Our heavy sins may aggrieve us,
And cause us woe where’er we go,
And never here peaceful leave us,
Yet He will there give ev’ry heir
A mansion bright for our delight,
Of which naught shall bereave us.

8 Rich is the saints’ inheritance
In Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.
Your lips employ, tell out the joy
That shall be yours now and ever!
Ye shall as one shine like the sun,
And never fade, like angels made,
Ye saints, forget this joy never!

9 Just then shall be Christ's penalty
On those who dare to defy Him—
Th’ accursèd host who proudly boast
Whose faithless hearts still deny Him.
Condemned to hell, in pain they’ll dwell
Without relief from cares and grief,
No matter how they decry Him.

10 Each faithful soul, made pure and whole,
Will know instead jubilation
For God the Son, their crown who won,
Arose for their re-creation;
He makes them new by Spirit true,
Through His dear Word; He is their Lord,
Their Rock, and their sure Salvation.

11 Such comfort free, thus brought by Thee,
Lord, give us henceforth unceasing;
Our hearts by grace uphold and brace
To bear all life's hours distressing;
That till the end our days we spend
Within Thy love, and patient prove,
And close this life in Thy blessing.

12 Until we die, this hope supply:
That joy shall be ours forever;
Then blest and well with Thee we’ll dwell,
And part from Thee, Jesus, never;
But with Thy flock hold Thee, our Rock,
And praise Thy name with loud acclaim,
Where naught from Thee shall us sever.

13 So praises ring; give thanks, and bring
To Christ our Lord adoration.
His honor speed by word and deed
To every land, every nation.

So shall His love give us above,
From misery and death set free,

All joy and full consolation.

Translation stanzas 3–12 © 2017 Matthew Carver.
Stanzas 1–2, 13, M. Franzman © 1969 (CPH), alt.

12 March 2017

O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt

Here is my translation of “O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt” (M. Franck, 1627), a hymn in 10 stanzas loosely based on the Passion hymn to the members of Christ's body traditionally ascribed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, from which several independent hymns have also appeared in German renderings and English translations, most notably Gerhardt's “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,” usually sung in English as “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.” It is interesting to note that our hymn is used in BWV 1094, one of the so-called Neumeister or Arnstädter chorales discovered in 1984. That this prelude on the chorale is thought to be from the time when Bach was working in Arnstadt, in the vicinity of Gotha, makes sense, given the early inclusion of the hymn in the Gotha cantional. The complete hymn presented here manages to include the most significant ideas from Bernard’s hymn into a uniform whole, framed in the more majestic than somber melody of Philip Nicolai, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.

A proper melody was also written for it by Melchior Franck and appeared in the Cantionale Sacrum, vol. 1 (Gotha, 1646), viz.:

However, the desired effect of this cantional tune is best achieved with full complement of harmonization.

O JESUS, round Thy sacred Frame
So full of suffering and shame,
I trace Thy wounds deep-riven!
Thy Body, holy, pure, and fair
Now stretched upon the Cross and bare,
Hath shed all gleam of heaven—
Thence I
Sense Thy
Love and yearning,
Freely burning,
And would love Thee,
For that love that thither drove Thee.

2 Where Thou art nailed upon the tree,
I come, and kneel this hour to see
Thy scars so freely spilling:
O God the Son, the Lamb of God!
That for my sake to Calv’ry trod
With ready heart and willing!
Let me borrow
Of Thy sorrow,
And, thus mourning,
Kiss Thy feet, Thy love returning.

3 O Jesus, though Thy Knees are frail,
Thy pledge is firm and cannot fail,
Death could not bend or break Thee;
I stand before Thy wooden throne
Desiring Thee my God to own
And as my Lord to take Thee.
Draw me
To Thee:
Let me hurry
And not tarry,
But adore Thee,
And in patience live before Thee.

4 O Jesus, how Thy Arms of grace
Are spread to all the human race,
With crimson fountains flowing!
If but the smallest droplet drains
From all the oceans of Thy veins
Upon my evildoing—
Then would
sin’s flood—
All transgressions—
Swiftly vanish;
Such its pow’r, all sin to banish.

5 O Jesus, how Thy Hands unfurled
Are seen from far across the world,
Thy grace so freely off’ring;
Oh! that I might, when sorrows throng
Or joys abound, my whole life long
Gaze on those hands of suff’ring:
Make me
With repenting
And lamenting
Here to laud Thee
And to clasp Thy noble Body!

6 O Jesus, that Thy Side so dear,
Cut open by the savage spear,
Should turn so pale and ashen!
Inside that cleft my soul would crawl
And pass into the royal hall
By gates of kingly fashion,
Whose Life
Flows rife,
Where are given
Grace and heaven,
Waters spilling,
Fonts with pure salvation filling.

7 O Jesus, Thy tormented Breast
By sting of whip and scourge oppressed,
Paid for our wicked pleasure:
The Seat of very Deity
Is made the fount of mercy free,
And stricken out of measure:
Take me,
Make me
Thine forever,
Parting never,
Guide my motion
As Thy limb with true devotion.

8 O Jesus, how Thy Heart was pained,
And in Thy faithfulness constrained
By flames of love undying,
When pangs of death Thy soul assailed,
And stings of hell against Thee railed,
Thy precious life denying!
Let my
heart fly
From all anguish
Where I languish,
Lift my spirit
And renew it by Thy merit.

9 O Jesus, how Thy Face, so scorned,
And sacred Head so cruelly thorned,
Disgrace and shame me ever!
For I deserved such mockery,
But Thou didst bear it all for me,
And wonst the Father’s favor!
Show Thy
Dear eye,
Look with kindness
On my blindness,
Grace bestowing
As on her whose tears were flowing.

10 O Jesus, vouchsafe now to come
And in me seek Thy bed and home,
All anguish hence dispelling;
Rest in my heart, Thy hallow’d shrine—
And there reside, and make it Thine—
To be Thy constant dwelling,
Till I
Will, Thy
Suff’ring sharing,
Forth be faring,
There to praise Thee
Oh, that I might now embrace Thee!

Translation © 2017 Matthew Carver.


1 O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt
in Marter hoch und mannigfalt,
mit wunden tief verheeret!
Der Leib von Heiligkeit so groß
Am Kreuz ist ausgespannet bloß,
hat seinen Glanz verzehret,
Ist dein Liebe,
heiß und trübe,
reich von Gaben,
die dich an das Holz erhaben.

2 Weil du denn angehäftet bist,
erscheine ich zu dieser Frist,
zu schauen deine Wunden,
die du für mich am Kreuzes Stamm,
O Gottes Sohn, o Gottes Lamm!
gar williglich empfunden:
setz mich
ohne Scheue,
doch mit Reue,
zu dein Füssen,
will aus Gegenlieb sie küssen.

3 O Jesu, schwach sind deine Knie,
doch stark die Treu, so stark, daß sie
der Tod nicht konnte neigen:
drum steh ich vor des Kreuzestron,
und will für meinem Herren schon
die Knie in Demut beugen:
Hilf mir
zu dir,
daß ich eile
und nicht weile,
dich zu lieben,
mein Herz mit Geduld zu üben.

4 O Jesu, wie sind deine Händ
zu allen Menschen hingewendt,
und tun von Purpur fliessen!
Wenn doch sich möcht ein Tröpfelein
vom hohen Meer des Blutes dein
nach meiner Schuld ergießen:
soll die Sünde,
ganz geschwinde
hier auf Erden
durch ein Strohm verschwemmet werden.

5 O Jesu, weit sind aufgetan
dein Händ, von fern man schauen kann
Genade sie ausbieten.
Ach! daß ich sollt mein ganze Zeit
in Trübsal und in Frölichkeit
der schönen Hände hüten:
doch mit Freuden
in dem Leiden
zu dir nahen
und den edlen Leib umfahen.

6 O Jesu, daß die Seite mild,
eröffnet mit dem Speere wild,
in Todesfarb verblichen:
mein Seel hat ihr gesetzet vor,
darein, wie durch ein Königstor,
zu laufen und zu kriechen:
weil dort
die Pfort,
so das Leben
uns tut geben,
weil die Quelle
den Heilbrunnen bringet helle.

7 O Jesu, dein geängste Brust
mit Geisseln hat die schnöde Lust
gebüsset und getragen:
der Gottheitstuhl ist sie bereit,
ein Kasten der Barmherzigkeit,
von höchster Pein zerschlagen:
nimm mich,
daß ich
deinem Leibe
stätig bleibe
und mit Andacht dir verbunden.

8 O Jesu, mit was großem Schmerz
bezwungen ward dein treues Herz
mit Liebesflamm umgeben,
als in dich drang des Todespein
mit Grimm, der in der Höll mag sein,
und nahm dir ab das Leben:
allen Schmerzen
in mein Herzen,
das erfreue,
meinen Geist in mir erneue.

9 O Jesu, dein klar Angesicht
geschändt, mit Dornen zugericht
das Haupt, mich ganz verhöhnen.
Denn da ich hatte das verschuldt,
erwarbst du mir des Vaters Huld,
dein wollst du nicht verschonen:
Schau mich
wie geschehen,
hast gesehen
nach dir tut mein Herz sich sehnen.

10 O Jesu, steig herab zu mir,
in mir dein Ruhbett suche dir,
ich will dich sanft begraben,
tief in meins Herzens besten Schrein,
da sollt du sein, da mußt du sein,
dein stete Stelle haben,
bis ich
mit dir leide
und abscheide,
dich zu loben.
Ach, wär ich nur bei dir droben!