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Commentary

128

The earliest accessible English version is that of Jacobi, 1725, printed in the 1754 Moravian Hymn Book. The translations by this author are usually very crude and painfully laborious, but in the present case, with a few notable exceptions, he has very well caught the ring and spirit of Gerhardt. Later compilers and publishers of hymns would of course omit the lines:

"His Grace has cleansed and polished
My humble Soul within." (stanza 5.)

and

"All this I have digested." (stanza 12.)

Like many of the early translators of German hymns Jacobi is guilty of frequent imperfect rhymes:

Merit
spirit
stanza 4       spectre
conjecture
stanza 14       alone
begun
stanza 15

If we overlook these defects the version is one of the best that has appeared so far in English or American hymnals and considerably above the standard201201Cf. pp. 30 and 71. of the Moravian hymns of the early eighteenth century. The following lines offer a very true counterpart of the German:

"All woes give way and flee," line 4.

"And that in Change and Chances
He stands at my right hand." lines 13, 14.

"The ground of my possession
Is Jesus and his Blood." lines 17, 18.

"Should Earth lose its foundation
Thou stand'st my lasting Rock." lines 97, 98.

Bishop Ryle in taking over this version into his Hymns and Spiritual Songs has made a number of alterations, presenting a cento of four stanzas. His stanza 3, for example, is a combination of Jacobi's last quatrain of stanza 9 and first quatrain of stanza 10:

Ryle (stanza 3).       Jacobi (stanza 9).
For me there is provided
A city fair and new;
To it I shall be guided,--
Jerusalem the true!
And how he hath provided
A city new and fair
Where things, our Faith did credit
Shall to our eyes appear.
(stanza 10.)
My portion there is lying,
A destined Canaan lot;
Though I am daily dying,
My Canaan withers not.
My portion there is lying
A destin'd Canaan-lot
Tho' I am daily dying,
My Heaven withers not.
129

American congregations are familiar with the hymn:

Since
(If)
Jesus is
(be)
my friend
And I to him belong . . .

It is often called "The Rest of Faith," and is a cento of Miss Winkworth's very excellent version. Although she has not preserved the metre of the poem Miss Winkworth has thoroughly caught its spirit even imitating in the widely known last stanza202202Cf. p. 127. the sound sequence and alliteration:

My heart for gladness springs,
It cannot more be sad,
For very joy it laughs and sings,
Sees nought but sunshine glad.

The sun that glads mine eyes
Is Christ the Lord I love,
I sing for joy of that which lies
Stored up for us above.

For free adaptations from this hymn cf. pp. 139 and 136.


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