Sunday 6 December 2009

The first major Danish hymn-writer Thomas Kingo (1634-1703)

To each his destiny

Sorrow and joy hand in hand go together,
         Fortune, misfortune as neighbours do dwell,
Luck and adversity call to each other
         Sunshine and clouds are companions as well.
                  Earth’s brightest gold
                  Is but fine mould,
Heaven alone is where bliss can unfold.

Gold crown and sceptre they sparkle and glitter,
         Glitter is not, though, what royal robes imply.
Thousands of burdens a crown’s weight embitter,
         Thousandfold cares in a sceptre’s power lie.
                  Life for a king
                  Unrest will bring
Heaven alone can give bliss without sting.

Everything’s fortune is waxing and waning!
         Everyone finds his own grief in his heart!
Often a breast, though bejewelled, is complaining,
         Weighed down by woe and by rage torn apart!
                  Trials we have all,
                  Some large, some small,
Heaven alone is where cares cannot gall.

Wisdom, dominion and temporal glory,
         Vigour and youth in the years of our prime,
Hold their head high, but the end of the story
         Is that they perish when ravished by time!
                  All things must end
                  None can contend
Heavenly bliss can alone all transcend!

Fairest of roses have sharp thorns aquiver,
         Loveliest flowers their poisonous sap,
’Neath rosy cheeks can a heart always wither,
         Strange how a destiny each does enwrap!
                  As storm-tossed boat,
                  Our land’s afloat,
Heaven alone all sweet bliss does promote.

Well then! No worry shall me overpower
         Should the world not do as I’d have prevail!
No tribulation shall cause me to cower
         Nothing shall cause my heart ever to fail!
                  Sorrow shall die,
                  Joy’s seeds on high
On heaven’s isle of pure bliss multiply.

Fear shall give rise to a joy that’s enduring,
         Agony’s distaff from tufts spin fine thread!
Poverty rich robes shall make most alluring,
         Weakness on sound legs shall rise from his bed!
                  Envy shall stand
                  Cornered, unmanned,
Heaven alone all of this can command!

Let then my fate and my fortune be fashioned
         As does my LORD and my MASTER desire,
Let no spite reign, nor no envious passion,
         Let but the world do as it would conspire!
                  Time’s loom will stare
                  Empty and bare,
Heaven will weave all that is to be there.

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