Thursday, February 24, 2022

Ach, arme Welt

Here is a translation I just whipped up for a Brahms motet, op. 110 no. 2, so that I can stick a hymnal-style arrangement of the tune in my next hymn-book. The vexing thing is that I'm sure I translated it years ago when I wrote the musical setting (dated 2001 in my notebook), but I've turned all my hymn-writing, composing and poetry albums upside-down and inside-out and couldn't find that translation; so, I had to start over.

Poor world, ah! thou deceivest me;
I know that now right certainly,
Yet I cannot escape thee.
False world, I know thou art not true;
Thy glory fades; with bitter rue
The bands of sorrow drape me.
Thy glory, wealth, poor mortal coil,
With death and desperation roil;
Vain, counterfeit is all thy spoil—
Help, Lord! to peace betake me!

The original German:
Ach, arme Welt, du trügest mich,
ja, das bekenn’ ich eigentlich,
und kann dich doch nicht meiden.
Du falsche Welt, du bist nicht wahr,
dein Schein vergeht, das weiß ich zwar,
mit Weh’ und großem Leiden.
Dein’ Ehr’, dein Gut, du arme Welt,
im Tod, in rechten Nöten fehlt,
dein Schatz ist eitel falsches Geld,
dess hilf mir, Herr, zum Frieden.

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