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Nun sei getrost und unbetrübt.--(Goed. 271.)

Subjoined to a funeral address by Johann Meiszner.

This is one of Gerhardt's many "Trostgesänge," and though less well known than most of his hymns is deserving of wider recognition than it has hitherto received. As far as is at present known there has been published but one English version, that of J. Kelly, 1867, p. 329, the first stanza of which is as follows:

"JOYFUL RESIGNATION TO A HAPPY DEPARTURE FROM THIS WEARY WORLD."

Stanza 1. Be glad, my heart! now fear no more,
Let nothing ever grieve thee;
Christ lives, who lov'd thee long before
Thy being He did give thee,
And ere He made thy wondrous frame;
His love remaineth still the same,
It ne'er can change to hatred.

It is unfortunate that the translator has been satisfied with "glad" for the forceful "getrost" which connotes "confidence" and "trust" (to which it is indeed cognate)149149Cf. p. 22. and even "comfort in that confidence" to the point of being "courageous." More pardonable is his balking at the characteristic alliterative "Geist und Gemüte" which must mean not only the "feelings," but also "soul" and "intellect" as well. If "heart" be accepted in this broadest sense it is undoubtedly the best English equivalent. The psychology of language would presumably never allow in poetry a literal word-for-word rendering of "Geblüte, Fleisch, Haut," and the English reader is denied the poetic force of "ward"150150Und Fleisch und Haut ward zugericht; line 5. also beautifully illustrated so frequently in the German Bible. Again it must be accounted a defect that the passive "ward zugericht" (1. 5) is changed to an active construction. The German passive is never used without sufficient reason, and Gerhardt chooses here to imply the divine mystery of birth. Here the English is too specific. On the other hand where the German is direct, "Dein Jesus" (1. 3), "Geblüte, Fleisch, Haut," (1. 4, 5), "Der" (1. 6), the English descends to the general.

Stanza 7 preserves more of the "Stimmung" of the original:

Thou Jesus! O thou sweetest Friend,
My light and life art ever!
Thou boldest me, dost me defend,
The foe can move Thee never. 74
In Thee I am, Thou art in me,
As we are here, we'll ever be,
Nought here or there can part us.

It is difficult to see, however, why "allerliebster Freund" (line 43) could not have its logical equivalent "dearest Friend";151151Line 43: "Thou Jesus! O Thou sweetest Friend." and similarly in line 48, "Und wie wir stehen," might equally be "And as we are," instead of "As we are here," which seems rather forced.


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