Saturday, 21 March 2015

A Third Candlemas Hymn

The third and last response to Fr Daniel Lloyd's challenge to me, to translate some German hymns for the Presentation into English.

The first two (see here, and here) were from the Reformation tradition, dating from the 17th century. Here is one from the Paderborn Catholic diocesan hymnal of 1874, Sursum Corda. The authorship is unattributed.

Word of the Father, Light to every nation,
Bright in the Temple, all the world’s salvation,
Here sees glad earth in You its consolation,
Saviour appearing.

Small in your Mother’s arms Your life is proffered;
Vast in compassion comes the life You suffered
Sacred to be, the spotless Victim, offered
For our redeeming.

Thus dawns the Light that lightens every mortal;
Thus comes foretold the sacrifice that bought all;
Thus in the Temple opens heaven’s portal,
Mary, God-bearing.

Simeon departs in peace, Your Light perceiving;
Hannah goes forth in joyful song, believing.
Out from our dark we follow, grace receiving,
Your face achieving.

Wort des Vaters, Licht der Heiden,
Heil und Trost der ganzen Welt;
heute bist Du unter Freuden
in dem Tempel dargestellt.
Klein, auf Deiner Mutter Armen
ziehst Du in den Tempel ein;
und du läßt Dich voll Erbarmen
zum Erlösungsopfer weih’n.

„Nun“, ruft Simeon voll Freuden,

„nun will ich in Frieden geh’n!
Das verheiß’ne Licht der Heiden,
unser Heil hab ich geseh’n!“
Freudig tritt, vom Geist geführet,
Anna in der Frommen Kreis;
und, von Gottes Huld gerühret,
stimmt sie ein in Dank und Preis.

Fröhlich wollen wir Dich preisen,

aller Menscheit Heil und Licht,
mit den beiden frommen Greisen
harren Dein mit Zuversicht.
Laß in Deinem Licht uns wandeln,
stets die Nacht der Sünde scheu’n;
nur nach Deinem Vorbild handeln,
einst im ew’gen Licht uns freu’n!

From Sursum Corda, Paderborn, 1874
trans. Mark Woodruff © 21.03.2015

The English translation is best sung to Iste Confessor. The German tune is unremarkable and what you need to say is not easily to be fitted into its metre (Fr Daniel had proposed Abbot's Leigh). Hence the choice above of the English form of the Sapphic metre.

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