22 May 2015

Ich trage groß Verlangen

Here is my translation of a Pentecost hymn “Ich trage groß Verlangen” by Johann Rist, from his collection of hymns of 1643/1652 entitled Himmlische Lieder. Which hymn, being located in the church-year section as number 10, bears the title “A Pentecost song in which our dearest Lord Jesus is heartily implored and besought to lend and apportion the heavenly Pentecost Guest, the precious Holy Spirit.” 

The setting, of which I reproduce the cantus-line, is original to the hymn and, as with the rest of Himmlische Lieder, written by the inimitable master of the Dorian mode, Johann Schop.
GREAT LONGING doth possess me,
Lord Jesus, soon to greet
Thy Spirit, Paraclete,
That He may help and bless me!
My mind and senses groan
For that great good alone,
And if that may be granted,
Then is all grief supplanted.

2. With nothing more adorn me—
My God, alone procure
For me this Visitor
As Thou hast duly sworn me;
Which teaches e’er the good,
That from true Christians should
With gratitude be flowing,
And that they should be knowing.

3. With wisdom He provides us,
Both sense and mind doth move,
And through the bond of love
To heaven rightly guides us―
Yea, fashions pure and whole
Faith’s pow’r within our soul,
And this with virtue dresses,
And quickens in distresses.

4. We fall, yet He sustains us,
In peril and in woe,
And soon we sense and know
That He through all maintains us,
He leaves us not alone
When we astray are gone;
He with true joy regales us
Whenever want assails us.

5. When we His servants lowly
By this world’s luring glow
In error chance to go,
His might restores us wholly;
He only is our shield
When tyrants take the field
And foes, their battle waging,
Afflict us with great raging.

6. Yea, ’tis the Spirit teaches
Whatever we know not
And what from heav’n is brought,
And He it is increases
In us faith’s glowing light,
Hope, trust, assurance right,
With patience, love, and suff’ring,
In meekness all things cov’ring.

7. When we are as men blinded,
He brings us to the way
Life’s path He doth display,
That we may see His kindness,
In darkness though we fare.
He doth our heart repair,
And, quenching wicked passions,
Peace in our soul He fashions.

8. The conscience He relieveth,
When by sin’s stinging smart
A much afflicted heart
Great injuries receiveth.
He hears our pray’r in faith,
He straightens out our path,
He, first the will imbuing,
Brings us at last to doing.

9. Oh, count him blessed ever
Whom heaven’s burning love
Hath crowned from high above
With such a grace and favor!
Yet doth this treasured grace
Attain no rightful place
With those who to transgression
Devote their conversation.

10. As Noah’s dove was given
No dwelling to abide,
Where only mire it spied,
Far likewise hence is driven
The Spirit without spot
From those who waste their lot
On wealth awake and sleeping,
And fall to Satan’s keeping.

11. Who loves dispute and striving
Who with the scoffers sits,
Defiling all his wits,
Who acts with proud conniving,
Who lives in drunkenness
Who only wealth will bless,
Can never bid the Spirit
To be his Guest of merit.

12. He only will be given
To those from falsehood free
And foul perversity,
Who seek and yearn for heaven―
Yea, who both day and night
God’s fury hold in sight,
Who bare their heart in sorrow
And of His grace would borrow.

13. Lord Jesus, my salvation,
My Life, my Joy divine,
I know the right is Thine
To grant this jubilation,
This heav’nly gift, to me;
Oh, when I pray to Thee,
Then at my calling hear me,
Thy Spirit send to cheer me.

14. From Thee let me not waver,
Grant courage, firmness, pow’r―
Works of the Counselor;
Give thoughts of holy savor,
So let my soul in Thee
Find comfort endlessly;
Grant me the full retiring,
By Thee, of my desiring.

15. Grant me by Thy provision
To serve Thee in Thy sight,
O uncorrupted Light,
Come, sanctify my vision
My eyes, to Thee resigned,
Be to all others blind;
Increase my longing wholly,
O Lord, to grasp Thee solely.

16. Would that I, wretch, might ever
Oppose sin’s poisons ill
That soul and body fill!
Would that I far might sever
And all those vices leave
Which most the Spirit grieve!
Then would I know His graces
All times and in all places.

17. Thou counsel hast to lead me,
Lord Jesus, Thou my Rest,
Come to my aid with haste,
And to the vict’ry speed me,
Thy Spirit’s strength bestow.
His gracious work, I know,
Will bring me high ascending
To life of joy unending.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.


1. Ich trage groß Verlangen
Herr Jesu, deinen Geist,
eer Rath und Tröster heißt,
mit Freuden zu empfangen:
Es sehnet sich mein Mut
allein nach diesem Gut,
und wenn ich das kann haben,
ist all mein Leid vergraben.

2. Nichts will ich mehr begehren,
als wenn du diesen Gast,
den du versprochen hast,
mein Gott, mir wirst gewähren;
der lehrt zur jeden Frist
das, was ein frommer Christ
zuthun soll sein geflissen,
auch was ihm noth zu wissen.

3. Er ists, der uns regieret
die Sinnen und Verstand,
der durch der Liebe Band
uns recht zum Himmel führet,
Ja der des Glaubens Kraft
in unser Seelen schafft,
der sie mit Tugend schmücket
und in der Not erquicket.

4. Er hält uns, wenn wir fallen
in Unglück und Gefahr,
bald werden wir gewahr,
daß er uns hilft vor allen:
Er läßt uns nicht allein,
wenn wir verirret sein,
Er speiset uns mit Freuden,
so bald wir Mangel leiden.

5. Er bring uns arme Knechte
wenn dir durch falschen Schein
der Welt verleitet sein,
durch seine Kraft zurechte;
Nur er ist unser Schutz,
wenn durch der Feinde Trutz
wir CHristen hier auf Erden
so stark verfolget werden.

6. Ja, dieser Geist, der lehret
das, was uns unbekannt
und himmlisch wird genannt,
er ist es, der da mehret
in uns des Glaubens Licht,
Trost, Hoffnung, Zuversicht,
Gedulden, leiden, lieben,
Und sich in Demut üben.

7. Wenn wir verdüstent gehen,
Bring er uns auf den Weg,
er zeigt des Lebens Steg,
daß wir in Finstern sehen,
sein honigsüsser Mund
macht unser Herz gesund,
er kann den bösen Willen
in unser Seelen stillen.

8. Er tröstet das Gewissen,
wenn durch der Sünden Schmerz
ein sehr zerschlagnes Herz
ist jämmerlich zerrissen.
er höret unser Bitt,
er richtet unsre Tritt,
er gibt uns erst das Wollen,
Da wir nach leben sollen.

9. O selig ist zu schätzen,
den diese Gnad und Gunst
der süssen Himmelsbrunst
auf Erden  mag ergötzen!
Doch dieser werter Schatz
hat nicht bei denen Platz,
die durch ihr ganzes Leben
den Lastern sind ergeben.

10. Gleichwie nicht könnte bleiben
der Noäh Taub allda
wo es noch kotig sah;
also läßt sich vertreiben
der Geist der Sauberkeit,
wo man die liebe Zeit
in Üppigkeit verbringet
und hin zum Satan springet.

11. Wer Zank und Hader liebet,
wer bei den Spöttern sitzt,
und schändlich sich beschmützt,
wer sich in Hoffart übet,
wer stets im Sause lebt,
wer nur nach Gelde strebt,
der kann den Geist der Gnaden
ja nimmer zu sich laden.

12. Er gibt sich selbst nur denen
die von der Trügerei
der schnöden Wollust frei
sich nach dem Himmel sehnen,
ja, welche Tag und Nacht
auf Gottes Zorn bedacht
ihr traurigs Herz ausschütten
und stets um Gnade bitten.

13. Herr Jesu, du mein Leben,
mein höchste Freud und Lust,
Mir ist ja wohl bewußt,
daß du mir nur kanst geben
dies himmlische Geschenk,
ich bitte dich: Gedenk
an mich, daß wenn ich schreie,
dein Geist mich bald erfreue.

14. Laß mich von dir nicht wanken,
verleihe Mut und Kraft
welch uns der Tröster schafft;
gib heilige Gedanken,
daß meine Seel in dir
sich tröste für und für,
gib, daß ich meinen Willen
durch dich nur lasse stillen.

15. Verleihe mir zu taugen
vor deinem Angesicht,
O unvergänglichs Licht;
Komm, heilige mein Augen,
daß sie zu dir allein
durchaus gerichtet sein;
vermehre mein Verlangen,
nur dir, Herr, anzuhangen.

16. O möcht ich, armer, bleiben
ein Feind der Sünden Gift,
der Leib und Seele trifft!
O möcht ich doch vertreiben
das, was den guten Geist
verjaget allermeist!
So würd ich seine Gaben
beständig bei mir haben.

17. Rat ist bei dir zu finden,
Herr Jesu, meine Ruh;
ach, tritt du selber zu
und hilf mir überwinden
durch deines Geistes Stärk,
ich weiß, sein gnädigs Werk,
das wird zum Freuden-Leben
mich ewiglich erheben.

18 May 2015

Deum precemur supplices

Here is my translation of the hymn “Deum precemur supplices” (H. Weller, bef. 1561) for feasts of Holy Angels; which amounts, in general Lutheranism, to the feast of St. Michael & All Angels. Note the first line borrowed directly from the second line of “Jam lucis orto sidere.” The melody is that appointed for that hymn, though commonly used otherwise as well. However, if sung in the context of the Office, in comparison with the other hymns for feasts of angels, the prayerful aspect and content recommends the use of this hymn, I think, for Compline on the feast.

TO GOD now let us humbly pray
That He would stir our heart this day
With gratitude that grace to own
Which from His hand we have been shown.

2 He sent the Word of Christ His Son,
Into the world by sin undone,
In darkness wav’ring and astray,
Wherein we wretched sinners lay.

3 Nor did that bounty so renowned
Remain within its measured bound,
But issued forth with brilliant light
And put foul heresies to flight.

4 And that believers e’er might be
Kept safe from harm, from peril free,
God by His trusty angel band
Defends the saints on ev’ry hand.

5 These spirits pure God made, that they
Might ever be our help and stay,
Companions of God’s true elect,
Our ev’ry footstep to direct.

6 Wherefore let us with mind o’erawed,
Behold the boundless grace of God
And live as children good and dear
Of this our Father without peer.

7 With all our pow’rs let us contend
To worship Him with mind unstained
Lest we our due reward receive

With spirits damned, in hell to grieve.

8 We ask that Jesus would be nigh,
Who is our Advocate most high,
And by His favor bring us hence
To heaven’s full inheritance.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.


1 Deum precemur supplices
Ut corda nostra excitet
Ad agnoscendam gratiam
Nobis ab ipso praebitam.

2 Quod Verbum sui Filii
Mundo remisit perdito
Et fluctuanti tenebris
Quis jactabamur miseri.

3 Nec intra modum bonitas
Ista tam ingens constitit
Sed luce clara micuit
Foedosque errores dispulit.

4 Et ut credentes firmiter
Tuti vivant periculis
Angelico praesidio
Munit pios tutissimo.

5 Hos puros finxit spiritus
Deus, ut essent comites
Suis semper fidelibus
Quorum gressus dirigerent.

6 Quapropter ejus maximam
In nos miremur gratiam
Bonique simus filii
Patris nostri tam optimi.

7 Quem mente pura colere
Nitamur summis viribus
Ne consequamur praemia
Cum perditis spiritibus.

8 Jesum patronum optimum,
Nobis adesse petimus
Quo nos pro suo gratia
Perducat ad caelestia. Amen.

13 May 2015

Martine confessor Dei

Here is my translation of the hymn “Martine confessor Dei (Anon., 13th c.), for the feast of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Nov. 11). Aside from being one of the greater and earlier saints, the saint enjoyed among German Lutherans the special connection to Martin Luther as his namesake, and the feast of St. Martin was de facto a Reformation festival in some places before the celebration on the eve of All Saints was well established. The form of the text comes from Ludecus’ Vesperale (1589) and is noteworthy for its relatively rare (among Lutherans) address of a departed saint; this may be partly explained by the conservative approach which Mark Brandenburg took toward the Reformation; or else represents a reconstrual as poetic address. Omitted by Ludecus, naturally, are the stanzas of invocation. In contrast to other Lutherans, except perhaps Luther himself, who eschewed new Latin composition, he preferred simply to omit stanzas rather than to compose new ones, though he here and there includes hymns or stanzas composed by contemporaries. The latter approach is found more frequently in Lossius.

SAINT Martin, God’s confessor proud,
Who, with the Spirit’s strength endowed,
Whilst weak’ning in thy carnal pow’r,
Wast giv’n to see death’s nearing hour.

2. The peace of Christ o’erflowing thee
In God the Spirit’s unity
His riven members hath restored,
The Church returned to one accord.

3. For thee, whom life did worthy show,
Bloodthirsty death could cause no woe;
Thou scornèdst at thy mortal end
The cunning of the guileful fiend.

4. Now dost thou joy with angels high,
And with archangels gladly cry,
Dost with th’ apostle band adore
The Triune God for evermore. Amen.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.


1. Martine confessor Dei
Valens vigore Spiritus
Carnis fatiscens artubus,
Mortis futurae praescius.

2. Qui pace Christi affluens
In unitate Spiritus
Divisa membra_Ecclesiae
Paci reformas unicae.

3. Quem vita fert probabilem,
Quem mors cruenta non laedit,
Qui callidi versutiis
In mortis hora derogas.

4. Qui laetaris cum angelis,
Exultas cum archangelis,
Triumphas cum apostolis
In saeculorum saeculis. Amen.

02 May 2015

En martyris Laurentii

Here is my translation of “En Martyris Laurentii” as given by Ludecus with the penultimate stanza omitted (an invocation of the saint’s merits). Note that the hymn was composed from Prudentius’s larger Peristephanon. It was eventually criticized because it makes pope Sixtus II die from crucifixion rather than the sword. Arguments supporting the crucifixion language tend to see it as a metaphor for any sort of martyrdom, though the text here seems somewhat too descriptive for that sense. The melody is also that given by Ludecus and may be compared with Frere (#76) and Stäblein (#411).

BEHOLD, of Lawrence, martyr famed,
What faith, well-armed, hath led the host!
By death o’er death the crown he claimed
And gave himself to th’ uttermost.

2. ’Twas as his bishop Sixtus said
As fastened to the cross he hung,
When seeing Lawrence weep with dread
Beneath his cross whereat he clung:

3. “Forbear at my departure now
To shed thy tears so grievously;
Though, brother, I go first, yet thou
Shalt three days hence my foll’wer be.”

4. What lastly did the bishop say—
Prophetic voice of glorious heav’n—
In naught deceived, for on the day
That he foretold, the palm was giv’n.

5. To th’ unbegotten Father praise,
And to the sole begotten Son
And Holy Ghost for endless days,
One God, for evermore be done.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.


1. En Martyris Laurentii
Armata pugnavit fides,
Nam morte mortem diruit,
Ac semet impendit sibi.

2. Fore hoc sacerdos dixerat
Jam Sixtus* affixus cruci, [*Xystus]
Laurentium flentem videns
Crucis sub ipso stipite.

3. Desiste discessu meo
Fletum dolenter fundere,
Praecedo frater, tu quoque
Post hoc sequeris triduum.

4. Extrema vox Episcopi
Praenuntiatrix gloriae,
Nihil fefellit: nam dies
Praedicta palmam praestitit.

5. Gloria Patri ingenito,
Gloria unigenito
Una cum sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.