19 December 2011

Warum sollen dich so schmerzen* (Alt.)

Here is my suggested emendation and modernization of J. Kelly’s translation of Paul Gerhardt’s hymn on the Circumcsion suitable for use on the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1. I Include below his original version, as well as Miss Cox' two-stanza version, which I believe is on the whole poorer than Kelly's.

WHY SHOULD they such torment give You?
Why so pain You, dearest Christ?
Why by such a rite so grieve You,
With their hearts uncircumcised?
Jesus! Oh, but You are free
From the Law’s severity,
For, although man's nature wearing,
You are free of sin and erring,

2. For Yourself You do not bear it,
Of the Cov’nant You are Head;
’Tis our debts that make You share it,
That, like grievous loads of lead,
Lie upon us, and Your heart
Pierce unto the inmost part;
These You suffer to deliver
Those who could have paid them never.

3. Let your hearts be glad, O debtors!
Let the world rejoice today!
For God’s Son now breaks our fetters,
Here our price begins to pay.
Now the Law has been fulfilled
Now God’s anger has been stilled.
Now are we, to death once given
Made by Christ the heirs of heaven.

4. Who can tell the grace and favor,
Or of thanks repay Your due!
Heart and mouth shall own You ever,
As our Savior honor You!
We shall praise with all our pow’r
All Your goodness, You adore,
While in weakness here we wander,
And Your praises echo yonder!

J. Kelly, 1867, alt. Matthew Carver, 2011.

J. KELLY, 1867:
1. Why should they such pain e’er give Thee,

Why inflict such cruel smart?

Jesus, why should they so grieve Thee,

Who’re uncircumcis’d in heart,

By this rite? Though Thou art free

From the law’s yoke utterly,

Yet man’s nature art Thou wearing,

But no sin its beauty marring.

2. For Thyself Thou dost not bear it,

Of the Cov’nant Thou art Head;

’Tis our debts that make Thee share it,

That like grievous load of lead

Lie upon us, and Thy heart

Pierce e’en to the inmost part;

These Thou bearest to deliver

Us, who could have paid them never.

3. Let your hearts be glad, ye debtors!

Let the world rejoice to-day,

For the Son of God our fetters

Breaks, the price begins to pay.

This day is the Law fulfill’d,

This day is God’s anger still’d,

Whom to death law did deliver,

God’s Son makes God’s heirs for ever.

4. We this grace enough can never

Own, nor for it grateful be;

Heart and mouth, O Saviour! ever

Shall exalt and honour Thee!

We shall praise with all our pow’r

All Thy goodness, Thee adore,

While in weakness here we wander,

And Thy praise re-echo yonder!
Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs, 1867

F. E. COX, 1841 (sts. 3-4 only):
3. Mortals, who have God offended,

Sinners all, rejoice to-day!

Gods own Son, from heaven descended,

Now your ransom 'gins to pay:
See the law this day fulfill'd,

God's just wrath and vengeance still'd;

He for sin who would have slain us,

Now for sons and heirs hath ta'en us.

4. Well may we this grace and favour

Evermore with blessings tell !

Well may heart and mouth for ever

Hail Thee our Immanuel !

Here in weakness while we stay,

Lord, we praise Thee as we may;

Earthly bonds our tongues here fetter,

But in heaven we'll praise Thee better.

1. Warum machet solche Schmerzen,
Warum machet solche Pein,
Der von unbeschnittnem Herzen,
Dir, herzliebstes Jesulein,
Mit Beschneidung, da du doch
Frei von des Gesetzes Joch.
Weil du, einem Menschenkinde
Zwar gleich, doch ganz ohne Sünde?

2. Für dich darfst du dies nicht dulden,
Du bist ja des Bundes Herr,
Unsre, unsre große Schulden,
Die so grausam, die so schwer
Auf uns liegen, daß es dich
Jammert herz- und inniglich,
Die trägst du ab, uns zu retten,
Die sonst nichts zu zahlen hätten.

3. Freut, ihr Schuldner, euch deswegen,
Ja, sei fröhlich alle Welt,
Weil heut anhebt zu erlegen
Gottes Sohn das Lösegeld;
Das Gesetz wird heut erfüllt,
Heut wird Gottes Zorn gestillt.
Heut macht uns, so sollten sterben,
Gottes Blut zu Gottes Erben.

4. Wer mag recht die Gnad erkennen?
Wer kann dafür dankbar sein?
Herz und Mund soll stets dich nennen
Unsern Heiland, Jesulein!
[30] Deine Güte wollen wir
Nach Vermögen preisen hier,
Weil wir in der Schwachheit wallen;
Dort soll baß dein Lob erschallen.

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