Sunday, May 10, 2009

Paul Gerhardt's song for the burial of a child, in English translation




The grieving father comforts himself over his now departed, blessed son:




You still are mine and will remain mine.

(Who will contradict me?)

But, you are not mine alone;

the Lord of eternal days

has the most right to you.

He demands you from me,

you, o my son, my will,

the fullness of my heart and wishes.



Oh, if I could chose, I would chose you,

you little star of my soul,

above all the goods of the world.

I would wish for you above all.

I would say: Remain with me!

You shall be the glory of my house!

I would love you dearly to my dying day.



Thus speaks my heart and means it well,

but God means it even better.

Great is my love,

but God's is even greater.

I am a father--and nothing more.

But God is the head of all fathers.

He is the true fountain

from which we all spring--old or young.



I long for my son;

Still, the One who gave him to me,

wills that he should live before his throne in heaven.

I say: Alas, my light disappears.

God says: Welcome, dear child,

I want you to be with me and I myself will give you joy forever.



Oh, sweet comfort, oh beautiful word,

and more holy than we think!

With God there is no place for evil,

no accident, no illness,

no fear, no need, no sin;

with God, no one can suffer.

In God’s care and presence you will never be sad again.



We humans beings scheme very hard

to make our loved ones honorable.

We worry day and night

how we can lead them into a beautiful station in life.

Yet, rarely do things turn out

the way that we had planned them.



How many a young, pious blood,

is led astray most grievously,

through bad examples

and ends up living

not as a Christian should.

Then he will only earn God's wrath,

and on earth nothing but disdain.

The father with much sorrow,

ends up being ashamed of his child.



This I need not fear for my son

since he stands before God's face

and walks in Christ's garden,

has joy which is a wholesome joy,

and rests from all heartache.

He hears and sees the angels above

who protect us here below.



He hears the voices of angels;

his own little voice is joining in the singing.

He knows all wisdom and speaks of such things

which none of us below know yet,

and which we will not learn while here on earth,

no matter how we study with great labor.



Ah, if I could but stand from afar

and just listen in a little,

when your senses are raised up

to honor God's name

who is Holy, Holy, Holy,

in whom you also are made holy:

I know that I would also overflow with tears of joy.



Then I would say: stay there!

I won't complain anymore by saying:

Oh, my son, were you with me.

No! I would say: Come, oh, Elijah's chariot,

come and get me quickly

also to where my child

and so many dear souls,

speak of such wonderful things.



Now, it shall be YES and shall remain,

I will stop crying for you.

You live and are happy,

see the pure sunshine,

the sun of eternal joy and rest.

There live and stay now!

I will soon, God willing,

make my way, together with dear ones,

to the place where you are.

2 comments:

Mary J said...

This is really great. I'll keep a copy on my computer. And I was wondering, if I have room, could I include it in the deaconess newsletter I edit?

Brigitte said...

Hello Mary J: thank you. You may use it how you like, however, maybe I need to fix it up a little before it "really" gets published anywhere.