26 September 2011

Singen wir aus Herzensgrund

Here is my translation of this hymn for thanks after a meal by Anon. (ca. 1560), once attributed variously to Selnecker, Ringwaldt, Erasmus Alber, and D.G. Zäumann; formerly found in its entirety in English Moravian Hymn-Books, and used by Bach as well (sts. 4, 6) for Trinity VII. It is to the Moravian translation (here) that C.S. Terry refers his readers. I intend to offer a more literal and modern rendering, if not as poetic. The melody is a later adaptation of the 15th c. Latin Christmas song "In natali Domini." (In English); optionally it may be sung the tune given in the Boh. Brethren hymnal for "Da Christus geboren war" (shown second).

SING WE NOW with all our heart,
Praise to God with mouth impart,
Who to us His goodness shows,
Daily bread on us bestows;
As He feeds the bird and beast,

He has giv’n us all a feast,
In the meal which now is ceased.

2. Praise Him as His servants true,

For this is our service due,
Seeing He did love us so,
And by grace on us bestow
Flesh and bone, and artfully
Formed us, caused us all to be,
That we might the daylight see.

3. Soon as man first comes to life,

Food he finds in bounty rife,
Made within his mother’s womb,
Good and ready to consume;
Though the child is very small,
Yet he lacks no food at all,
Ere he leaves his little hall.

4. God has crowned the earth with good,

Giving it no lack of food;
Hill and dale He spreads with dew
Grass for cattle to bestrew,
Bread and wine from earth He brings,
Satisfies with goodly things,
That we may all live as kings.

5. God the waters fills with fish,

Granting them to be our dish;
Bids the fowl their eggs to lay,
Multiplying food each day;
Beasts of every shape and size
For our food our God supplies;
From His hand alone they rise.

6. Giving thanks, we Him beseech,
Us the Spirit’s mind to teach,

That, as this we rightly know,
In His will we e’er may go,
Praise His name, extol His cross,
Thus in Christ we bear no loss,
Rightly singing Gratias.

Translation sts. 1–6 © Matthew Carver, 2011.


1. Singen wir aus Hertzensgrund,
loben Gott mit unserm Mund;
wie er sein Güt an uns beweist;
so hat er uns auch gespeist;
wie er Thier und Vögel ernährt;
so hat er uns auch beschert,
welchs wir itzund haben verzehrt.

2. Loben wir ihn, als seine Knecht,
das sind wir ihm schuldig von Recht,
erkennen, wie er uns hat geliebt,
dem Menschen aus Genaden giebt,
daß er von Fleisch, Bein und von Haut
artig ist zusammen gebaut,
daß er des Tages Licht anschaut.

3. Alsbald der Mensch sein Leben hat,
seine Küche vor ihm staht;
in dem Leib der Mutter sein
ist es zugerichtet fein;
ob es ist ein kleines Kind,
Mangel doch an nirgends findt,
biß es an die Welt herkömmt.

4. GOtt hat die Erd schön zugerichtt,
läßts an Nahrung mangeln nicht,
Berg und Thal die macht er naß,
daß dem Vieh auch wächst sein Gras:
Aus der Erden Wein und Brodt
schaffet Gott, und giebts uns satt,
daß der Mensch sein Leben hat.

5. Das Wasser das muß geben Fisch,
die läßt GOtt tragen zu Tisch;
Eyer von Vögeln eingelegt
werden Junge draus geheckt,
müssen der Menschen Speise seyn:
Hirsche, Schaafe, Rinder und Schwein
schaffet GOtt, und giebts allein.

6. Wir dancken sehr, und bitten ihn,
daß er uns geb des Geistes Sinn,
daß wir solches recht verstehn,
stets nach seinn Geboten gehn,
seinen Namen machen groß
in CHristo ohn Unterlaß,
so singen wir recht das Gratias.

[7. Das Gratias das singen wir:
HErr GOtt Vater, wir dancken dir,
daß du uns so reichlich hast gespeißt,
dein Güt und Treu an uns beweißt:
Gieb uns auch das Gedeyen dazu,
unserm Leib Gesundheit und Ruh!
wer das begehrt, sprech: Amen dazu.]*

*A later addition.

20 September 2011

Jucundare plebs fidelis*

I reproduce here Digby Wrangham's translation "O Be Joyful, Faithful Nation," a text that is true to the original meter (unlike Campbell's popular "Christians, Come in Sweetest Measure"). Its source, Wrangham's translation of Gautier's text, is here. Thanks to Christopher McAvoy for reference of the MS, I here provide a transcription of the melody from the Paris Missal:

O BE joyful, faithful nation!
Seed of God's own generation!
Mindful of the revelation
In Ezekiel's prophecy:
In that witness John uniteth,
Who th' Apocalypse inditeth;
"Witness true my true pen writeth
Of what truly met mine eye!"

2. Round the footstool of the Godhead,
'Mongst the blessed Saints included,
Stand four creatures there embodied,
Diverse in their form to view.
One an eagle's semblance weareth,
One a lion's likeness beareth,
But as man or ox appeareth
Each one of the other two.

3. As Evangelists, these creatures
Figure forth, in form and features,
Those, whose doctrines' stream, like Nature's
Rain, is on the Church outpoured;
Matthew, Mark, and Luke pourtraying,
Him too, who His sire obeying,
By the nets no longer staying,
Came to follow thee, O Lord!

4. Matthew as the man is treated,
Since 'tis he, who hath related,
How from man, by God created,
God did, as a man, descend.
Luke the ox's semblance weareth,
Since his Gospel first declareth,
As he thence the Law's veil teareth,
Sacrifices' aim and end.

5. Mark, the lion, his voice upraises,
Crying out in desert places:
"Cleanse your hearts from all sin's traces;
For our God a way prepare!"
John, the eagle's features having,
Earth on love's twain pinions leaving,
Soars aloft, God's truth perceiving
In light's purer atmosphere.

6. Thus the forms of brute creation
Prophets in their revelation
Use; but in their application
All their sacred lessons bring.
Mystic meaning underlieth
Wheels that run, or wing that flieth;
One consent the first implieth,
Contemplation means the wing.

7. These four writers in portraying
Christ, His fourfold acts displaying,
Show Him,—thou hast heard the saying,—
Each of them distinctively:
Man—of woman generated;
Ox—in off'ring dedicated;
Lion—having death defeated;
Eagle—mounting to the sky.

8. These four streams, through Eden flowing,
Moisture, verdure, still bestowing,
Make the flow'rs and fruit there growing
In rich plenty laugh and sing:
Christ the source, these streams forth sending;
High the source, these downward trending;
That they thus a taste transcending
Of life's fount to Saints may bring.

9. At their stream inebriated,
Be our love's thirst aggravated,
More completely to be sated
At a holier love's full fount!
May the doctrine they provide us
Draw us from sin's slough beside us,
And to things divine thus guide us,
As from earth we upward mount! Amen.

1. Jocundare, plebs fidelis,
Cujus Pater est in caelis,
Recolens Ezechielis
Prophetae praeconia:
Est Joannes testis ipsi,
Dicens in Apocalypsi,
Vere vidi, vere scripsi
Vera testimonia.

2. Circa thronum majestatis,
Cum spiritibus beatis,
Quatuor diversitatis
Astant animalia.
Formam primum aquilinam,
Et secundum leoninam,
Sed humanam et bovinam
Duo gerunt alia.

3. Formae formant figurarum
Formas Evangelistarum,
Quorum imber doctrinarum
Stillat in Ecclesia:
Hi sunt Marcus et Matthaeus,
Lucas, et quem Zebedaeus
Pater tibi misit, Deus,
Dum laxaret retia.

4. Formam viri dant Matthaeo,
Quia scripsit sic de Deo,
Sicut descendit ab eo,
Quem plasmavit, homine.
Lucas bos est in figura,
Ut praemonstrat in Scriptura,
Hostiarum tangens jura
Legis sub velamine.

5. Marcus leo per desertum
Clamans, rugit in apertum,
Iter fiat Deo certum,
Mundum cor a crimine.
Sed Joannes, ala binâ
Caritatis, aquilina
Forma, fertur in divina
Puriori lumine.

6. Ecce forma bestialis,
Quam scriptura prophetalis
Notat; sed materialis
Haec est impositio.
Currunt rotis, volant alis;
Inest sensus spiritalis;
Rota gressus est aequalis,
Ala contemplatio.

7. Quatuor describunt isti
Quadriformes actus Christi,
Et figurant, ut audisti,
Quisque suâ formulâ.
Natus homo declaratur,
Vitulus sacrificatur,
Leo mortem depraedatur,
Et ascendit aquila.

8. Paradisus his rigatur,
Viret, floret, foecundatur,
His abundat, his laetatur
Quatuor fluminibus:
Fons est Christus, hi sunt rivi,
Fons est altus, hi proclivi,
Ut saporem fontis vivi
Ministrent fidelibus.

9. Horum rivo debriatis
Sitis crescat caritatis,
Ut de fonte pietatis
Satiemur plenius.
Horum trahat nos doctrina
Vitiorum de sentina,
Sicque ducat ad divina
Ab imo superius.

15 September 2011

Dicimus grates tibi

Here is my translation of “Dicimus grates tibi summe rerum Conditor” (P. Melanchthon, 1539) from the Latin rather than from the German paraphrase by Paul Eber (†1569; translations of that have been made by Seiss and Cronenwett). This one preserves the meter. I provide the melody from Lossius Psalmodia (1579):

THANKS UNTO THEE, O highest Lord, Creator,
We through Thy Son for angel hosts now render,
Who by Thy hand as flames of fire were fashioned
Ministers blameless.

2. Bright with Thy brilliance, they reflect Thy glory,
With raptured gazes eer Thy face beholding,
Wisdom from Thee as from the Fountain drawing,
Thy Words receiving.

3. Thou dost not suffer this Thy holy people
Idly to tarry, nor their flight to squander
Round the vast ethers, playing in breezes,
As though unheeding.

4. Them hast Thou bidden to be Christ’s attendants,
And to keep vigil where the godly gather,
Where Thy commandments fitting praise are given
And well implanted.

5. For hotly burning with ungodly hatred,
Satan the dragon, by whom sin and dying
This world first entered, furious on thy barracks
Wages his warfare.

6. Here seeking only ruin and destruction
Of house and city, church and congregation,
All Thy commandments, and all holy conduct,—
Fain would he raze them.

7. Yet o’er us watching, heav’nly troops of angels
Follow their Captain, Christ, the high Commander,
Curbing the bloody weapons of the dragon,
Whereso he rages.

8. Angels saved Lot from Sodom’s devastation,
Harbored Elisha from the hostile armies;
Ringed round by angels, he beheld unfearing
Banners of battle.

9. Safe mid the circling lions stood the prophet
Daniel, surrounded by a hedge of angels;
Thus doth God ever by His faithful servants
Keep us in shelter.

10. This Thy protection we devoutly honor,
As unto Thee our choirs, their voices blending
With choirs angelic, thankful anthems render,
O kind Creator.

11. Set these Thy watchmen o’er Thy temple ever,
And o’er Thy people, who Thy Son's fair message
Hallow with rev'rence; this we beseech Thee
With heart unfeigning.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2011.

1. Dicimus grates tibi, summe rerum
Conditor, gnato tua quod ministros
Flammeos finxit manus angelorum
Agmina pura.

2. Qui tuae lucis radiis vibrantes
Te vident laetis oculis, tuasque
Hauriunt voces, sapientiaeque
Fonte fruuntur.

3. Hos nec [non] ignavum sinis [finis] esse vulgus,
Nec per ingentes volitare frustra
Aetheris tractus, temere nec inter
Ludere ventos.

4. Sed jubes Christo comites adesse
Et pios caetus hominum tueri,
Qui tuas leges venerantur, atque
Discere curant.

5. Impiis ardens odiis et ira
Nam tuis castris draco semper infert
Bella, qui primis scelus atque mortem
Intulit orbi.

6. Hic domos, urbes, tua templa, gentes
Et tuae legis monumenta tota
Et bonos mores abolere tentat
Funditus omnes.

7. Interim sed nos regit angelorum,
Quae ducem Christum sequitur, caterva,
Atque grassantis reprimit cruenta
Arma draconis.

8. Angeli Lothon Sodomae tuentur,
Inter infestos Elisaeus [C…] hostes,
Angelis cinctus, nihil extimescit
Bellica signa.

9. Tutus est inter medios leones,
Angelis s(a)eptus Daniel propheta:
Sic tegit semper Deus his ministris
Omnia nostra.

10. Hoc tuum munus celebramus una,
Et tibi noster chorus angelique
Gratias dicunt simul accinentes,
Conditor alme.

11. Et tuo templo vigiles ut addas
Angelos semper, populoque, Gnati
Qui tui verbum colit, obsecramus
Pectore toto.

11 September 2011

Christe sanctorum decus (corr. H. Bonnus)

Here is my translation of Hermann Bonnus’ correction to Rabanus Maurus’ hymn for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. I have attempted to translate it twice, on the basis of each commonly used versions, one unrhymed and the other rhymed, since the first and last stanzas are largely the same as the original. The sixth stanza is a generic doxology for this meter, apparently from St. Gregory the Great. Since that of Riley is less literal (Dearmer does no better), I have provided an alternate translation, and also direct the reader to the superior doxology provided in the other (Roman use) translation. The following tune is that appointed in Lossius Psalmodia (1579).

Adaptation of English Hymnal #242 (based on A. Riley, 1906):
CHRIST, THE FAIR glory of the holy angels,
Thou who hast made us, Thou who o'er us rulest,
Grant of Thy mercy for our supplications
Steps up to heaven.

2. Give holy angels charge o’er every dwelling,
That they may keep us, standing as our watchmen,
From Satan’s murd’rous plots our souls defending,
His snares dispelling.

3. So let Thy Scripture sound without perversion,
Nor any faction or false doctrine flourish,
Lest our poor senses be seduced to error
By faith’s appearance.

4. As once Thine Angel Michael was triumphant,
Seizing the vict’ry o’er the prince of Persia,
So make among us peace once more to prosper
E’en at the present.

5. Grant that Thine angel govern all the living,
Ably supporting all our earthly labors
That Thou may’st find them well and wholly pleasing:
O Christ, we pray Thee.

6. This may the blessed Godhead vouchsafe to us:
Father coequal with the Son and Spirit,
Whose glory echoes through the world resounding
Now and forever. (Amen.)

Riley’s original doxology:
6. Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be Thou our preserver;
Thine is the glory which the angels worship,
Veiling their faces.

Roman translation:
This be our portion [older: This He vouchsafe us…], God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory, which through all creation
ever resoundeth. (Amen.)

Translation sts. 1, 6 alt., Composite;
sts. 2-6. © Matthew Carver, 2011.

Correction of alternate translation (based on T.I. Ball, 1921):
CHRIST, OF THE Angels praise and adoration,
Maker of all men, Lord of every nation,
Graciously let our earnest pray’r be given
Steps up to heaven.

2. Thy holy angels to our dwellings send us,
Charge them as guardians ever to attend us,
From us averting Satan’s wicked cunning,
His ruses stunning.

3. That in all truth Thy Word may be presented,
And any sects of doctrine false prevented,
Lest they by outward piety’s pretenses
Ensnare our senses.

4. Michael the Angel, once the rival quelling,
Victory wrested, Persia’s prince repelling,—
So let peace prosper now amid the foment,
E’en in this moment.

5. May Thy good angel rule and govern o’er us,
And in our labors help and go before us,
That they may please Thee, nor by sin dismay Thee;
This, Christ, we pray Thee.

6. O May the Godhead, endless bliss possessing, 
Father and Son and Spirit, grant this blessing; 
Whose glory, all the universe pervading
Knoweth no fading.

Translation st. 1 Composite, st. 6, 
sts. 2–5 © Matthew Carver, 2011.

1. Christe, sanctorum decus Angelorum
Auctor humani generis et rector,
Supplices nobis, tribuas rogamus
scandere caelum.

2. Angelos sanctos jubeas ubique
Esse custodes, vigilesque nostros,
Impetus contra Satanae malignos,

3. Ut tuum verbum doceatur apte,
Nulla perversi valeatque secta
Dogmatis nostros, pietate ficta,
Fallere sensus.

4. Angelus quondam Michael triumphum
Regibus Persis reparavit, idem
Publicam pacem, tueatur omni
Tempore nobis.

5. Angelus vitam regat universam,
Adjuvet nostros simul et labores,
Cuncta quòd possint tibi comprobari,
Christe precamur.

6. Praestet hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris ac Nati, pariterque Sancti
Spiritus, cuius reboat per omnem
gloria mundum. (Amen.)

1. CHRISTE, sanctorum decus Angelorum
Rector humani generis et auctor,
nobis aeternum tribue benigne
scandere caelum.

2. ANGELUM pacis, Michael ad istam
caelitus mitte, rogitamus aulam:
nobis ut crebro veniente crescant
prospera cuncta.

3. ANGELUS fortis Gabriel, ut hostem
pellat antiquum, volitet ab alto,
saepius templum veniat ad istud
visere nostrum.

4. ANGELUM nobis medicum salutis
mitte de caelis Raphael, ut omnes
sanet aegrotos, pariterque nostros
dirigat actus.

5. HINC Dei nostri Genetrix Maria,
totus et nobis chorus Angelorum
semper assistat, simul et beata
concio tota.

6. PRAESTET hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris ac Nati pariterque Sancti
Spiritus, cuius resonat per omnem
gloria mundum. Amen.

1. Christe, sanctorum decus Angelorum,
Gentis humanae sator et redemptor,
Coelitum nobis tribuas beatas
Scandere sedes.

2. Angelus pacis Michael in aedes
Coelitus nostras veniat, serenae
Auctor ut pacis lacrimosa in orcum
Bella releget.

3. Angelus fortis Gabriel, ut hostes
Pellat antiquos, et arnica coelo,
Quae triumphator statuit per orbem,
Templa revisat.

4. Angelus nostrae medicus salutis,
Adsit e coelo Raphael, ut omnes
Sanet aegrotos, dubiosque vitae
Dirigat actus.

5. Virgo dux pacis, Genitrixquae lucis,
Et sacer nobis chorus Angelorum
Semper assistat, simul et micantis
Regia coeli.

6. Praestet hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris, ac Nati, pariterque sancti
Spiritus, cujus resonat per omnem
Gloria mundum.