25 February 2014

Laß die Welt dies Leben lieben

When hymn-writer Chad L. Bird posted his latest hymn, "From the Mount of Our Lord's Glory," Rev. Armin Wenz noted in a comment a hymn by Sigismund von Birken. Here is my translation of the hymn "Laß die Welt dies Leben lieben" (S. von Birken). It was written for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany (Transfiguration). The melody is "Steh doch, Seele, steh doch stille," of which I reproduce from Kümmerle the first version from Nürnberg.

LEAVE THIS world its life so treasured!
Here it is not good to stay;
Here abide but griefs unmeasured:
Sin, injustice, pain, decay;
Long to live on earth is merely
Long to suffer, sore and dearly.

2. God, it is not so in heaven!
There on high ’tis good to be!
There the shades of sin are riven,
Routed there all misery;
There Thy glory shines unfailing,
Where the Sun of joy is dwelling!

3. Let me see that life delighftul!
Let me set my dwelling soon
Far from cities faint and frightful
In Thy country star-bestrewn
Let me be from sorrow lifted,
With that higher station gifted!

4. Here in Moses’ tent of meeting
Mid the worldly wilderness,
Men in sweat their bread are eating,
All Thy holy Law transgress;
Here the cursèd ground convicts him
And with choking thorn afflicts him.

5. In this life of sin and sadness,
In this soldier’s camp I stay,
Bound by foes who in their madness
Ever call us to the fray,
What is here but wars repeating,
Triumphs tenuous and fleeting?

6. Such a triumph to be claiming,
To Elijah’s tent I flee,
Which by horse and chariot flaming
God preserves within His lee;
As I fight no foes confound me
With the angel escort round me.

7. Yet, O Jesus, heaven’s dwelling
Shall my highest pleasure be—
Home of peace, all peace excelling—
Triumph there to share with Thee!
There Thy hand a crown will give me:
Jesus, from the earth receive me!

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Laß die Welt diß Leben lieben! / hier auf Erd ist nit gut seyn. / hier wohnt nichtes, als Betrüben, / Unrecht, Sünde, Noht und Pein. / Langes leben hier auf Erden, / heist nur, lang gequälet werden.
2. Nicht so, Gott in deinem Himmel! / in dem Himmel ist gut seyn: / da hört auf das Leidgewimmel; / da gibt ewig-hellen Schein / deine schöne FreudenSonne, / da wohnt wahre Lebenswonne.
3. Dieses Wohlseyn laß mich schauen. / laß mich in dem Sternenland / mir bald eine Hütte bauen, / tretten an den guten Stand: / daß ich in dem Freudenwesen / ewig möge Leids genesen.
4. Hier ich wohn in Mose Hütten, / in der Wüste dieser Welt. / Hier ach! muß es seyn gelitten, / weil man dein Gesetz nicht hält. / und es muß die Erde tragen / die Fluchdörnern, uns zuplagen.
5. Dieses Sünd- und Jammer-Leben, / dieses Kriegszelt, ieder Zeit / von den Feinden wird ümgeben, / die uns fordern in den Streit. / Was ist hier? Gefährlichs Kriegen, / und doch ungewißes Siegen.
6. Diesen Sieg davon zutragen, / flieh ich in Elias Zelt, / das durch Feuer-Roß und Wagen / Gott in seinem Schutze hält. / Sicher ich den feind bestreite, / in dem Englischen Geleite.
7. Doch so laß ich mir vor allen, / Jesu, dort dein HimmelZelt, / da der Friede wohnt, gefallen, / wo man mit dir Siegpracht hält. / da werd ich gekrönet werden. / Jesu, hol mich von der Erden!
Dreyen Jüngern auf dem Berg Jesus herrlich wird verkläret, / und: diß ist mein lieber Sohn! himmel-ab die Stimm gehöret.


Walter said...

You've mastered this art of turning the German hymn treasury into English with an eye to a high-sounding vocab. This is the stuff that lasts & not the paraphrasing slang of some translators today. Sincere people want a good literal translation too.

You always go that extra mile to provide us with the Chorale Tune !

The hymn itself is loyal to the 'Tabernacles' theme as you mentioned on Chad's blog. Even though those closing thoughts on the 3 disciples & the Voice of the Father are squeezed out of your closing, ... I am ...

Amazed that you could spin out a Prima ! translation so, so, SO quickly: Thanks !

Walter said...

Hi Matt, I think my comments were lost in 'the /cyber/ Cloud' last week.
I really wanted to thank you for your swift translation of the German hymn contributed in response to Chad's Transfiguration hymn.
It is so well done & appreciated!

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Thanks Walter, you are very encouraging.

That last phrase actually appears to be some text extraneous to the hymn. I haven't seen von Birken's book or any edition of it, so I can't comment on its relation to the text, but it seems to be a rhyme (as a stanza it would be incomplete): "To the three disciples the mount, Jesus is gloriously transfigured, and: This is My beloved Son, the voice is heard from heaven." The final words do rhyme according to German rules, but of course Berg and Sohn do not, so I take this to be a rhyming caption from an omitted emblema or illustration.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Sorry about the delay. No cyber cloud failure, just my own negligence.

Walter said...

Hi Matt, I took a good look at that last non-verse too and scratched my dandruff. The 'emblema' explains it perfectly well. Thanks