30 October 2012

Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #2: "By Adam's Fall Man's Frame Entire"

Continuing my series on Walther's Hymnal and excerpts of important hymns not translated by myself (mostly), here is an excerpt of my correction and alteration of J.C. Jacobi's (1725) full translation of KELG #236, "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" (L. Spengler, 1524), a hymn famous among Lutherans as quoted in their Confessions (Ep I 8) as being sung by the church, and yet not being sung by them in the church—well, almost, since a paraphrase of the first part of the hymn is found in Lutheran Service Book as "All Mankind Fell in Adam's Fall." There is also a very good full translation of a modern style by Mark DeGarmeaux in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary which has enjoyed usage in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod for several years already.

The text is especially appropriate for Quinquagesima / Esto mihi (the Sunday before Lent in the Historic Lectionary), as well as for Sexagesima, Good Friday, and the Sixth Sunday after Trinity.

The author, Lazarus Spengler (1479–1534), was city clerk of the important Reformation city Nürnberg, and is known, among other things, for designing Luther's seal after his specifications in a letter.

 Its fine melody took its sacred form in Wittenberg, 1529, when it appeared it Joseph Klug's Geistliche Lieder. Our earliest extant example is from 1533. Below is the slightly simplified form which was used in the Missouri Synod during

BY ADAM’S fall man’s frame entire
And nature was infected;
The source, whence came the poison dire,
Was not to be corrected.
The lust accursed, / Indulged at first,
Brought death as its production;
But God’s free grace / Hath saved our race
From mis’ry and destruction.

2. Since Eve by Satan was enticed
And, yielding to temptation,
God’s Word rejected and despised,
And ruined was creation:
Naught could be done, / But God His Son
Must send in our own nature
That through His death, / We all by faith
Might be a newborn creature!

3. By one man’s guilt all men, enslaved,
Were subjects of the devil;
But by another’s grace is saved
Mankind from every evil:
And as we all / By Adam’s fall
Were sentenced to damnation,
So too hath God / By Christ’s own blood
Regained our lost salvation.

 . . . (stanzas 4–6 are included in the published version)

7. But who makes God his hope and trust
Shall never be confounded:
No house built on this Rock is lost,
Though everywhere surrounded
By daring foes / And trying woes;
His faith yet stands unshaken.
Who loves the Lord / Shall by no sword
Nor woe be overtaken.

. . . (stanza 8 is included in the published version)

9. Thy Word’s a lamp unto my feet,
A lantern burning brightly;
My surest guide and path to meet
The Way to heaven rightly.
This Star, where’er / It doth appear,
Reveals those heav’nly graces,
Which are laid up / For all that hope
To taste the Lord’s embraces.

19 October 2012

Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #1: "Come Hither Saith the Son of God"

This is the first post in a small series I am doing of excerpts from the upcoming Walther's Hymnal (Concordia Publishing House, 2012). Here it is on CPH's website. This is an excerpt of a Composite translation prepared especially for this hymnal from the hymn “Kommt her zu mir,” by G. Grünwald, which is found as #276, in the section entitled “Christian Life.” In the upcoming Walther's Hymnal, all 16 stanzas are provided in full.

The earliest publication of the German was a two-hymn broadside dated 1530, where it is entitled “A fine new Christian hymn.” The attribution of the hymn to the Anabaptist Georg Grünwald is made by Wackernagel based on second-hand accounts. At times in its history, being in accord with the Lutheran teaching on sanctification, appearing at such an early date, and so widely sung by Lutherans, the hymn was even erroneously attributed to Dr. Luther himself (e.g., in Eler's Cantica, Hamburg, 1588). Other contenders for authorship were Hans Witzstadt von Wertheim and Jörg Berkenmeyer von Ulm.  

Remarkable for its length as for the earnestness of its admonition to repentance, it is perhaps most notable for its familiar tune, “Kommt her zu mir,” which was first paired with it. Those familiar with The Lutheran Hymnal and Lutheran Service Book will recognize the tune as that appointed for “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe” [TLH 263, LSB 666].

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.

“COME HITHER,” saith the Son of God,
“All ye who loathe sin’s heavy load
And would no longer bear it;
Come hither, young and old, to Me,
For well I know your injury
And gladly would repair it.”

2. “My yoke is mild, My burden light,
And all who bear its easy weight,
Release from hell are given.
I’ll give them strength when theirs would fail,
And by My strength they shall prevail
And so inherit heaven.

3. “All I have done and suffered here
From womb to cross, do ye revere,
And emulate in measure.
What you may think or say or do
Is neither safe nor good nor true,
But as it seeks My pleasure.”

4. The world may wish the bliss to gain
Without the cross, reproach, and pain,
Of which they hear the warning:
It cannot be! The cross is there,
And they must choose its shame to bear,
Or endless shame and mourning.

 . . .

 9. The worldly are afraid of death,
And only when they gasp for breath
Are mindful of devotion.
One toiled for this and one for that,
But each his own poor soul forgot,
In all of earth’s commotion.

10. At last, when he must surely die,
He lifts to God an anxious cry,
And makes a forced surrender:—
I sadly fear, God’s slighted grace,
Which long with scorn he did efface,
Will scarce a pardon tender.
11. Dear children, ye your God who own
And piety in heart have shown,
Let not your souls be troubled!
Confide in Jesus’ holy Word,
The greatest Refuge ever heard,
So shall your joys be doubled.

  . . .

14. But seems your cross too much to bear?
Then think of hell—its dark despair—
To which the world is hasting:
Its flame eternally supplies
Each man with torment, groans, and sighs—
Its fuèl never wasting.

15. But ye, beyond this world’s annoy,
In Christ shall find your endless joy—
Which ye do well to ponder;
No mortal tongue can realize
What pleasures and eternal prize
Shall swell you with their wonder.

16. For, what the God of changeless truth
Confirms by Spirit and by oath,
Must come, and ye shall see it.
Whoso will trust His proffered grace
Shall in His kingdom find a place
Through Jesus Christ. So be it!

10 October 2012

Kyrie Stelliferi Conditor orbis

Here is my translation of the trope for the Kyrie “Stelliferi Conditor orbis” (i.e. Kyrie XIII). Thanks to Christopher MacAvoy and Ben Stockermans who provided the music from the tropes published by Gregor & Taube. It is well to note that, while there is apparently no evidence that this trope was sung in the Reformation, similar tropes were maintained in the Lutheran use probably into the 18th century, and certainly received renewed attention in the 19th century by musicians such as Fr. Layriz. Well known among these usually rhymed translations is Kyrie fons bonitatis (now Kyrie II), or Kyrie Gott Vater, that is, Kyrie, God, Father in heaven above; also, the German trope for Kyrie magnae Deus potentiae (O Vater der Barmherzigkeit), which in some cantionales and chorale-books was appointed for Christmastide. On occasion the troped Kyrie paschalis (Kyrie Gott Schöpfer) is also found, appointed for Eastertide. It is with this tradition in mind that I am pleased to submit the trope of Kyrie Stelliferi Conditor, which is in my estimation one of the most interesting of the simpler Kyries in the Gregorian tradition. Set in the XI mode, it is not as jubilant as Lux et origo or as hopeful like Magnae Deus potentiae, but has a solemn character, which no doubt recommended it for feasts of the third class (i.e., Memorials), to which category it was eventually relegated. Yet due to its simplicity and haunting beauty, it is a good candidate for congregations interested in expanding their mass repertoire.

The text, or at very least, the title, appears to be inspired by a passage from Boethius beginning with the same words, of which an interesting translation by Geoffrey Chaucer is available. Here the mighty Maker of the wheel that beareth the stars is invoked by his suppliant creatures, that, He whose power is so manifest in the staggering vault of space with its countless stars and constellations, might have mercy on his lowly people. In view of this apparent majesty, He is rightly appealed to; in view of His visible, omnipotent creative power, He is rightly sought for provision. In Christ, Himself God, who ascended far above even these glorious external creatures, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, the supplications of the faithful are found to have a tangible object and sensible ear. Was He not incarnate, and did He not take flesh like ours, and did He not shed His blood and thereby atone for all mankind? And will He not therefore also be ready and willing to hear our prayer when we pray Have mercy? This is the culmination of the third set of tropes, in the place normally understood as relating to the Holy Spirit. Here, appropriately, is not some kind of description of the Spirit Himself, but an encapsulation of the work of the Spirit, the message that the Spirit speaks, viz., the Gospel of Christ. Here finally are comprehended the Word by which the Spirit calls, and the gifts of Christ, the Sacraments, by which the Spirit gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the Church on earth and keeps her in the one true faith—the faith by which the faithful implore the Father for mercy on behalf of Christ, and are sure to be heard, for mercy in this life and in the one to come.

The music below has been slightly altered to normalize the syllables in each line. The arrangement provides for each troped verse to be followed by a Kyrie eleison or Christe eleison, so that there are nine troped verses and nine untroped verses. The final three troped Kyries utilize a more extended melody, whereas of the untroped Kyrie, only the final one the fuller or doubled melody, as would be the case also if sung without the troped verses.

a. Maker of the star-bearing heavens, /
Grant us Thy mercy, eleison. Kyrie…
b. Thee we worship, and quiet never /
Mouth, heart, and spirit, eleison. Kyrie…
c. All that was, is, and ever shall be /
Thou comprehendest, eleison. Kyrie…

a. Receive with favor Thy people’s prayèrs; /
This we beseech Thee, eleison. Christe…
b. Thou at the Father’s right hand art seated, /
Our whole life ruling, eleison. Christe…
c. Wherefore, beholding Thy mighty powèr, /
Christ, we beseech Thee, eleison. Christe…

a. Grace-bestowing Offspring of the Virgin, /
Deign to hear the pray’rs which we, Thy suppliants, /
Unceasing send Thee  / eleison. Kyrie…
b. Thou who by Thy holy blood restorest /
Man which perished by the fair temptation /
Of fruit forbidden, eleison. Kyrie…
c. Thou who feed’st the flock with heavn’ly wonders, /
Quick’ning all in Thee that seek refreshment /
Forgive Thy faithful, eleison. Kyrie…

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

a. Stelliferi
conditor orbis,
digneris nostri
eleison: Kyrie eleison.
b. Profitemur
te ore, corde
eleison; Kyrie eleison.
c. Praeteritum,
quodvis futurum
esse qui cernis,
eleison; Kyrie eleison.

a. Servorum preces
exaudi clemens;
quaesumus, nostri
eleison; Christe eleison.
b. Patris ad dextram
residens, cuncta
gubernans, nostri
eleison; Christe eleison.
c. Qui ratione
potenti semper,
rogamus, Christe,
eleison; Christe eleison.

a. Almificae virginis edite,
supplicantum precibus intende
jugibus tibi, eleison.
b. Qui instauras hominem vetiti
pereuntem dulcedine pomi
cruore sacro, eleison.
c. Qui cuncta refovendo donis
propriis gregem pascentia vescis,
plebis devotae eleison.

04 October 2012

Mein Trost und Hülf ist Gott allein

I interrupt my series on the hymns of David Spaiser to bring you my translation of the anonymous choral piece, which became a 1-stanza hymn of sorts: “Mein Trost und Hülf ist Gott allein,” first found in Balthasar Musculus, Viertzig schönen geistliche Gesenglein . . . (1597). It is a brief and heartfelt consolation in the face of adversity. The German is quoted, i.a., in Valerius Herberger, Magnalia Dei, Part 8, medit. XI.

MY HELP and stay is God alone, 
  From Him I’ll wander never. 
As His true servant I’ll be known 
  In life and death forever. 
And though the world with all its host 
Oppose me to the uttermost 
  Yet naught will move me from my God 
  While yet my tongue can speak a word. 
    World, what of thee?
    God shieldeth me,
  On Him my trust is founded.

Translation © 2012 Matthew Carver.

Mein Trost und Hülf ist Gott allein,
  ich hab mich ihm ergeben.
Ich bin und bleib der Diener sein
  im Tod und auch im Leben.
Und wenn mir gleich zuwider wär
die ganze Welt mit ihrem Heer,
  von Gott ich doch will lassen nicht,
  dieweili mein Zung ein Wörtlein spricht.
    Welt, wie du willt,
    Gott ist mein Schild:
  Auf ihn steht mein Vertrauen.