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Liebe," of a part of which we submit the following rather as a paraphrase than a translation :
O Thou Love of my Beloved
Love beyond all human ken,
To assume the form of men-
Brought Him here to bleed and die
Brought to dark Gethsemane :
Love which when by men forsaken
Loving ever, loved them yet-
Braved the storms of Olivet-
To the Father's love supreme-
Fallen creatures to redeem :
Love which with a heart unshrinking
Shame and pain bore to the last,
Unto death continued fast:
While the life-blood's in the heart-
When the soul and body part:
Love which thus did suffer for me,
And upon the accursed tree
Can I think too much of Thee?
Ever be Thy sufferings blest,
Sink I to my Saviour's rest!
So much for German hymnology, taking the word in its proper sense. It is a topic of great interest, as is evidenced by the immense popularity of the “Lyra Germanica," and the "Hymns from the Land of Luther.” It is a topic which we must take a future occasion to so far examine as to enable us to follow German religious poetry down to its present period of full lyrical power. One branch of it, however-a branch which the translators before us have passed over—we can not but pause for a moment to notice. It is that of the descriptive lyrical, a form which in our own language is rare, unless it be among writers of the pantheistic or merely humanitarian schools. (The chief exception we know of is Montgomery's “A poor way-faring Man of Grief.") As an illustration of this we have translated the following from Schubart:
THE BEGGAR'S DEATH.
The beggar on his lonely bed
In wetchedness is dying,
A crown divine is lying;
His limbs forsaken cover;
His pilgrimage is over.
On riches, honor, pleasures, strife,
No trust of his is centered;
As naked it he entered:
When kings may die forsaken;
A faith in Christ unshaken.
Rough is the bier on which he lies,
On pauper help depending;
No purchased tears descending;
In careless haste is hurried,
Is now forever buried.
Yet God for His great day of grace
Is that poor name retaining,
Not, like mankind, disdaining;
On earth were coldly spurning,
In seraph glory burning.
My God! if 'tis Thy wise decree
That here in want I languish,
Find comfort in my anguish;
From this poor world of sorrow,
To an eternal morrow.*
We can not pass from this topic without giving, from an unknown translator, the following exquisite rendering of a poem
* Observe the humanitarian paraphrase of the above, in the Pauper's Drive, by Thomas Noel.
“There's a grim one-horse hearse, in a jolly round trot;
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot;
"Rattle his bones over the stones,
“Oh! where are the mourners ? alas! there are none;
He has left not a gap in the world now he's gone;
Rattle his bones over the stones,
He's only a pauper whom nobody owns.'
The whip, how it cracks, and the wheels, how they spin!
Rattle his bones over the stones,
“Poor pauper defunct I he has made some approach
To gentility, now that he's stretched in a coach;
*Rattle his bones over the stones,
“But a truce to this strain, for my soul it is sad,
To think that a heart in humanity clad,
Bear softly his bones over the stones,
on this same point by an author, whose works have only occasionally reached the English eye:
THE OLD WASHERWOMAN.
Translated from Chamisso.
A laundress with white hair appears,
Spite of her five and seventy years;
Eating the bread hard toil obtained her,
The duties to which God ordained her.
Once she was young and full of gladness,
She loved and hoped, was wooed and won ;
No loving heart on earth may shun.
Beside his sick-bed-he was taken-
Yet kept her faith and hope unshaken.
The task her little ones of feeding
She met unfaltering from that hour;
Her virtues were their worldly dower.
Forth with her blessing they departed,
Alone and old, but still high-hearted.
She gathered coin, and fax she bought,
Good store of fine-spun thread she wrought.
She brought it home, and calmly seated
Her decent grave-clothes she completed.
They are her wealth, her treasure rare,
Hoarded with all a miser's care.
To hear the Word that faileth never;
Till she shall sleep in it forever!
Would that my spirit witness bore me
That, like this woman, I had done
Duly from morn till set of sun!
Quaffed in such wise and happy measure,
Look on my shroud with such meek pleasure !
We pass from the German school to that of the English. The collections we have placed at the head of this article, fall, it will be noticed, under three heads, which may be designated as the ecclesiastical, the devotional, and the æsthetic.
Of the first of this—those designed for public or social worship—that lately presented by the Evangelical Knowledge Society has peculiar merits. It is framed on a Catholic basis, and includes not merely those hymns which have been peculiarly connected with the evangelical revival of England and America-for example, those of Newton, of Cowper, and of Toplady—but those which have roused the Christian heart of all ages, such as the hymns :
"Jesus, the very thought of Thee," by St. Bernard;
“Thou, O my Saviour, Thou didst me,” by Francis Xavier; and that already noticed,
"O sacred head, now wounded," by Paul Gerhardt.
One suggestion we may be permitted to make in reference to a future edition, and that is, that the translation of the Dies Iræ in the text, which strikes us as heavy and unrhythmical, give way to that beginning :
“Day of wrath, 0 day of mourning!
Heaven and earth to ashes burning!