Wednesday, 6 October 2010

One of the classic hymns by the Danish bishop Thomas Kingo (1634-1703)

Weary of the world, and with heaven most dear

        Farewell, world, farewell
As thrall here I’m weary and no more will dwell,
The manifold burdens that on me have lain,
I wrest them now from me and do them disdain,
I wrench myself free, though am wearied withal:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        And what everywhere
Does this world embellish with visage so fair?
’Tis all merely shadows and baubles of glass,
’Tis all merely bubbles and clattering brass,
’Tis all but thin ice, filth and mischief withal:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        My years what are they?
That furtively dwindle and sidle away?
And what are my worries? My thought-troubled mind?
My joy or my sorrow? My fancies so blind?
And what do my work, moil and toil all recall?
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        Oh riches and gold,
You false earthly idol so bright to behold,
You are though among the deceits the world brings
That wax, wane and alter with all other things.
You are but vain glory whate’er may befall:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        Ah, honour – ’tis what?
Your crowns and your laurels proclaim what you’re not,
And envy consumes you and sits on your back,
You lack peace of mind and are prone to attack!
You stumble where others contrive not to fall:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        Ah, favour and grace
That mist-like enfold us, are gone without trace.
You fickle inflator that puffs up the mind,
You thousand-eyed creature that e’en so are blind,
When viewed ’gainst the sun one can see that you pall:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        Ah, friendship and trust,
That knows how to veer vanes to bliss with each gust!
You handsome deceiver, you fortunate pup,
That fails us so often in sorrow’s deep cup
You say what experience has us recall:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        Ah, joys of the flesh
That many have fatally snared in their mesh,
You quick-burning tinder, you spark on the wind,
Have sown flames eternal for those that have sinned,
Your cup seems like honey, the drink though is gall:
        ’Tis vanity all,
        ’Tis vanity all.

        Farewell, then, farewell
No more your deceits shall my soul now compel,
Oh world of delusion, I now you dismiss,
Consign to oblivion’s deepest abyss,
My grief and affliction no more me shall chafe:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

        There all of my years
Will start in eternity’s spring without tears,
My days will not dawn with the rise of the sun,
Nor moon’s wax or wane tell when night has begun,
My sun is Lord Jesus with rays like gold staves:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

        My riches and gold
Will always be mine both to have and to hold,
No robber can ever deprive me of them,
No bartering cause me to part with one gem,
I never will find myself left as a waif:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

         My honour is won
From that throne my Jesus is sitting upon,
A crown filled with glory for me is in store,
With blood of the lamb it is gilt ever more,
’Tis mine though the devil me gladly would strafe:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

        With grace I will shine
As one of the angelic host so divine,
No envious eye shall my face ever see,
God’s countenance gaze ever-smiling on me,
There will I pour scorn on death’s envious grave:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

There I have a friend,
My Jesus who loves me I love without end,
My eye will regard him unclouded and fair,
The heavenly torch of his love proffered there,
In spirit Love’s blaze I eternal may crave:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

        My rapture and joy
Are quickened when angels their trumpets employ,
But God is all joy both for me and their kind!
Rejoice then, my soul, all the world leave behind!
Mind well on your heart God his joy will engrave:
        With Abraham safe,
        With Abraham safe.

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