Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Candlemas Hymn

I was recently told there were no hymns for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ (known in the East as the Feast of Encounter with the Lord, i.e. Simeon's and Hannah's in the Temple). This assertion is demonstrably mistaken, but it got me thinking. I looked up the text of the motet, Maria wallt zum Heiligtum, by Johannes Eccard (1553-1611) in the well known translation by John Troutbeck (1832-1899), When to the Temple Mary went, finding it was not a good translation and also realising that its metre means it cannot be used as a conventional hymn.

Regardless of whether what follows is 'good', I set my hand to a fresh translation that would fit to a triple 10.10. tune, such as Unde et Memores or Song 24, Old 50th, or even Yorkshire (Stockport).


When Mary to the Temple brings her Child,
The Christ foretold to Simeon is revealed;
As arms that aged in waiting hold the Boy,
The Spirit thrills his voice with ageless joy:
Rejoicing now I go on Heaven’s way:
Saviour, Your people’s Glory, World’s true Day.

Lord Jesus Christ, now hold us through our days,
And show our greatest joy to be Your praise.
Help us, at life’s last hour, depart in peace
With Simeon raised in song by love’s increase:
Rejoicing now I go on Heaven’s way:
Saviour, Your people’s Glory, World’s true Day.

Maria wallt zum Heiligtum und bringt ihr Kindlein dar,
das schaut der greise Simeon, wie ihm verhei├čen war.
Da nimmt er Jesum in den Arm und singt im Geiste froh:

Nun fahr' ich hin mit Freud,
dich, Heiland, sah ich heut,
du Trost von Israel, das Licht der Welt.

Hilf nun, du liebster Jesu Christ, dass wir zu jeder Frist
an dir wie auch der Simeon all uns're Freude han
und kommt die Zeit, sanft schlafen ein und also singen froh:

Nun fahr' ich hin mit Freud,
dich, Heiland, sah ich heut,
du Trost von Israel, das Licht der Welt.


Johannes Eccard, 1553-1611
trans. Mark Woodruff, February 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment