Monday 4 November 2013

A great Norwegian Kingo admirer - Dorothe Engelbretsdatter (1634-1716)

Weary of the world,
and desirous of heaven

You souls who as did Simeon
                  For heaven so are yearning,
Take leave of this world’s Babylon,
                  This sin-cacked prison spurning,
Refuse not from this deep abyss
In peace to journey unto bliss,
                  When God’s hour is approaching.

We are like some poor flock of owls
                  In places of confusion,
Laboriously we roam and prowl
                  Where rest is but illusion;
Here on this earth is no sure rest,
Nor is there any feathered nest.
                  In Meshech we are strangers.

Oft must our life, so full of care,
                  Beneath the cross be bowing,
Delight that once has been our share
                  Now woe is disendowing;
Change after happiness would spy
Where tares among the wheat do lie
                  And put a stop to gladness.

Some lustful souls do well withal,
                  Find life a bed of roses,
While others are but sorrow’s thralls,
                  Bear crowns of thorns, not posies;
Complaint, constraint and wounds full sore
Do through their restless skin now bore
                  Till death the knot’s untying.

All sin and sorrow pass away,
                  The grave has proof that’s soothing,
When finally the earth and clay
                  The diggers’ spades are smoothing;
For then the body’s found its nest,
For then the soul at last knows rest,
                  And all feuds have their ending.

So now, earth that laments and grieves,
                  That is a trap of evil,
Good night! For heaven I now leave,
                  Rejoice at this upheaval.
There shall eternal joy be mine,
There shall Hosannahs sweetly chime
                  Among the hosts of angels.

In sin and grief mankind you chain,
                  Yea! cause the soul’s frustration
Begone! Limed grave, stronghold of pain!
                  Sion’s palace is my station.
By harmful sinful deeds dismayed,
The many stumbling blocks arrayed
                  That block my pathway forwards.

Come, longed-for Death! Cut through life’s straw,
                  You as your Lord’s gatekeeper
Shall open heaven’s mighty door
                  Though you are too life’s reaper;
If God deems that my time is come,
That sufferings enough are done,
                  That I can cease my weeping.

Almighty God! I cry aloud,
                  Our time here you’ve allotted,
By blessed hour and burial shroud
                  All agony is blotted;
From thralldom’s yoke by mercy freed,
With life’s course fully run indeed,
                  There comes a final treasure

Help’s granted him who to the end
                  resists the world’s beguiling.
A trustful helmsman will e’er fend
                  Against the ocean’s wiling,
He’d rather drown in his dire need
Than let his hand the storm-waves heed
                  That would the helm be seizing.

Oh, Jesus, by your death may I
                  From this world now be leaving,
Let my soul to your bosom fly
                  From sin and days of grieving;
My corpse grant space within my grave,
So I, without my pilgrim’s stave
                  May at your side be resting.

When you on Judgment Day shall fetch
                  The dead to life eternal,
 Touch my grave too with hand outstretched
                  And grant me grace supernal,
May the last trump wake me from sleep
And you my body safely keep
                  Amongst the blessèd chosen.

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