Freuen Wir Uns all’ in Ein

Here is a translation of a German hymn, from times of persecution both before and during the Protestant Reformation.  It has quite the pedigree.  It was the first hymn of the Bohemian Brethren, a proto-Protestant sect that followed the teachings of Jan Hus in the fifteenth century.  The hymn was written by Gabriel Komarovsky in Bohemian at the founding of the Brethren in 1457.  During the Reformation, it was translated into German by Michael Weisse.  I am rendering the German version into English, so keep in mind that what you read below is twice removed from the original.

This is the only hymn of my (non-comprehensive but still not negligible) acquaintance to explicitly mention the Antichrist (verse 6).  One is tempted to think that by “Antichrist” Komarovsky and Weisse meant the Pope, or the Catholic Church.  But in our days, we are much more likely to think of the enemies of God in general, or their particular manifestation in the current persecutions or seductions of the world.  While on matters of doctrine, note the hymn’s emphasis in the first stanza on the unity of the singers, and on God as the sole object of praise.  (This is in the German version; someone else will have to verify whether it’s in the Bohemian.)  There may be echoes here of the Protestant rejection of the veneration of saints or of ecclesiastical hierarchies.  The Bohemian Brethren in particular emphasized the unity and equality of all Christians, disregarding distinctions of rank or wealth among themselves.

The last line in each verse is irregular.  The meter of this hymn’s traditional tune is a bit irregular; but it is satisfyingly singable.  You can listen to it here.

Let Us All with One Accord

Let us all with one accord
Praise and bless our only Lord:
God the Father and the Son
And the Third
Who with Them is One.

For His heart is lovingkind
Through all perils of our time:
He will prove us and impart
His own law
Of love on our heart.

By the power of the Lord
We are sent to preach the Word:
Help us, Lord, with all Thy grace
That Thy word
Go forth every place.

O fulfill whatever plan
Thy good pleasure once began;
And, till then, our waiting gaze
To Thee, Lord, we raise.

For Almighty is Thy name,
Boundless is Thy lordly fame,
Hailed the King of Hosts to be
Of all realms
In earth, sky, and sea.

O destroy the Antichrist
With his slanders and his lies;
Suffer not an earthly power
To harass Thee here
Every hour.

Help Thy flock, Thy chosen ones,
Who have suffered bitter harms:
From all evil set us free,
Let us worship Thee

Grant us all, when life is past,
Worthily to rest at last,
At Thy feet to kneel us down
And receive
An unfading crown.

Freuen Wir Uns all’ in Ein

Freuen wir uns All’ in Ein,
Geben Lob und Preis allein
Gott dem Vater und dem Sohn,
Zugleich der Dritten Person.

Denn Er hat Barmherzigkeit
Zur Zeit grosser Fährlichkeit
Uns beweisst, und Sein Gesetz
Geschrieben in unser Herz.

Auch hat Er in Seiner Kraft
Treue Diener uns verschafft.
O Herr, hilf mit Deiner Gab
Dass Dein Wort einen Fortgang hab’.

O vollend’ nach Deiner Lust,
Was Du angefangen hast;
Denn all’ unsre Zuversicht
Ist, Herr, nur auf Dich gericht’t.

Allmächtig wirst Du genannt,
Und ein grosser Herr erkannt,
Ja ein König aller Heer,
Im Himmel, Erdreich und Meer.

O zerstör den Antichrist,
All’n Irrtum und arge List;
O lass nicht weltliche Macht
Dich verfolgen Tag und Nacht.

Hilf, dass Dein Volk auserwählt
Nicht so kläglich werd’ gequält,
Sondern alles Übels frei
Dich lob’ und gebenedei!

Verleih, dass wir allzugleich
In Dir leben tugendreich,
Darnach dort finden zu Lohn
Ein’ unvergänglichen Kron.


About middlingpoet

From the Gawain poet to Rainer Maria Rilke: I love traditional poetry.
This entry was posted in Brethren, Current Events, Moravian, Translations and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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