Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A well-known hymn by the Danish writer Grundtvig, in the true Kingo and Brorson tradition

To rightly bid the world farewell

To rightly bid the world farewell
at life’s first dawn or evening knell
is hard for us to fathom.
It never would be learnt on earth,
were you not with us in your word,
Oh Jesus, as in heaven.

Though solace oft I found with you,
when my heart quaked, and tears broke through,
and worldly waves did thunder,
my soul to dust yet seeks to cling,
my heel the serpent yet does sting,
though you its head did sunder.

Oh Jesus, Master, brother sweet!
Death’s bitterness you know complete,
for you all death did vanquish.
You know us fully, every one,
know well, time’s sands that ever run
our hearts do fill with anguish.

Oh come, as once you did, I know
you will yourself quite clearly show
in all your Father’s glory,
were it at dawn or evening knell,
I’d rise up with but brief farewell
your heav’nly cloud before me.

But should death come before you do,
come secretly, remember too
the grave will all things darken!
Enhalo me, that darkness end,
anoint the eye of your sick friend,
so I may see God’s garden!

In the last night watch, come, draw near,
arrayed in clothes of one who’s dear
and sit down close beside me,
and speak with me, as friend to friend,
of where we soon will meet again,
forget what pains us direly!

Come as you wish! For well I know
you’ve said your voice may here below
reveal you to creation:
that voice, though all the world should rage,
which makes our heart within us blaze
and melt in consolation.

Oh, let me at my final hour
hear from your mouth that with great power
can speak of life and spirit:
how heaven beckons constantly,
how in your halls a chair for me
awaits which I’ll inherit!

Ere death with icy hand should strive
’twixt dust and spirit to divide,
and make heart’s warmth grow dimmer,
with trusting eagerness I’ll rest,
as does the child at mother’s breast,
embraced by my redeemer.

(for a hymn by Kingo, see 06.12.09)

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