05 April 2014

Rex Israel tuus tibi

Here is my translation of G. Fabricius' hymn, "Rex Israel tuus tibi" from his book of poetry, De Historia et Meditatione Christi Mortis (1553). It appears to have been taken into a few hymnals, but it is unclear which melody it was given. I provide the Gregorian melody most often associated with the Passiontide hymn "Rex Christe factor omnium."

THY KING, O Isr’el, comes to thee,
In manner meek, and willingly,
His entry now with hands applaud,
With trumpet hail, with anthems laud!

2. He comes not fierce with forces steeled
Or barb’rous troops to take the field,
But, poor-appareled, makes His track
Upon a lowly donkey’s back.

3. No joy of fleeting wealth He brings,
But bounties of eternal things;
What doubt can then thy heart convince
To dread so mild and rich a Prince?

4. For Him let us our garments strew,
For Him the greening branches hew,
For Him a hymn of glory sound,—
In strife our fairest Fav’rite crowned!

5. Here doth the gentle Pauper go
The dev’lish fiend to overthrow,—
The righteous King, for our release
To raise a vict’ry-rod* of peace.

6. By word and hand He claims for heav’n
The kingdom by His Father giv’n,
And in His temple on the rod,
Disdained by rulers, reigns as God.

7. Our glad Hosanna let us sing
To David’s Son, the gracious King,
O may His kingdom ever blest
For ages flourish without rest! Amen.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

*Trop(h)aea, i.e., tree-shaped monuments formerly used to mark a military victory; here, the cross.

1. Rex, Israel, tuus tibi
mansuetus et volens adest,
Plausus manu, cantus tuba
et ore laudes persona.

2. Non saevus armato grege,
cohortibusve barbaris,
Tergo sed insidens, venit
inops, aselli pauperis.

3. Nec fert caduca gaudia,
vitae sed aeternae bona,
Neve [=Neu] horreas mitissimum,
sic vult venire, principem.

4. Sternamus huic velamina,
ramos secemus arborum,
Promamus hymnum gloriae
pulcherrimo_in certamine.

5. Pauper superbum subjugat
clemens atrocem daemonem,
Rex justus et salvans suos
trophaea pacis erigit.

6. Regnum_a parente traditum
verbo manuque vindicat
Contemnitur potentibus,
sed regnat in templo deus.

7. Osanna laetum Davidis
canamus almo filio,
Cuius per omne saeculum
regnum beatum floreat. [Amen.]


Walter said...

Hail Matthew ! Have you ever discovered a hidden treasure for us here! A great Latin hymn and a greater English translation, filled with the Biblical message of Palm Sunday & the Passion.
I managed to google the book until some Bavarian website allowed my to download it in PDF: shall be reading this for a while ! Thanks so much !

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Glad you were able to find it. It is an edifying read.

Walter said...

Hi Matt, again ! on this new jewel which you are reviving... Wackernagel did have the Latin, but you have done a true service to the Lutheran heritage which has so many Latin hymnists.
I also found that the Andernacher Gesangbuch -- 1611 I think -- had a good German translation, albeit in archaic spelling, some of which I can hardly understand.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Hi Walter, thanks for that. Do you have a link to the Andernacher Gesangbuch?