Montag, 16. Februar 2009

Hymns for St Anscharius from Sweden & Bremen

Besides the modern Orthodox service for St Anskar, with its own hymnography based on Byzantine forms, one can find the Latin texts and English translations of two Western hymns for the holy hierarch here. I shall post the English translations of both. The first is apparently taken from the Breviary used in the Swedish church at Upsala:

Most noble father, Anskar,
Restore us by thy grace,
And those who wander now afar
In Christ's own bosom place.

In holy strife contending
Thou did'st the faith proclaim
To Danes and Swedes declaring
The honour of His name.

An unbelieving nation
From thee the light receives,
The teachings of salvation,
It now with joy believes.

Thou to God's sheep hast given
The food they fain would claim,
And earnestly hast striven
To glorify His name.

To the great King thou bringest
When earthly strife doth cease,
The talents thou receivest,
With manifold increase.

To Father, and His only Son
Be laud and honour given
To Holy Spirit, Three in One
In earth and highest heaven.

The second hymn is prefaced by this note: 'This hymn in honour of Anshar was written by Conrad Benne, who was a deacon in the monastery of S.S. Willehad and Stephen at Bremen from 1429 to 1456. It is included in the Missal of the Church at Bremen issued by Archbishop Johann Rode.'

Ye men of Bremen sing with joy,
Your hearts with minds and tongues employ,
Such wondrous gifts without alloy
Each with beauty all its own
Of joyful sound the piercing reed
To praise your glorious patron, speed.
Blest Anskar, now from troubles freed
High on his triumphal throne.

He, God's High priest midst Northmen rude
The pattern life to Romans shewed
In Heaven's high fortress unsubdued
Now holds his prize in glory.
Once nurtured up in Corbey's Hall,
His sanctity acclaimed by all,
To highest priesthood hears his call,
Rejoice, and sing his story.

With wide stretched sails, in faith he flies
Displays to wondering Danish eyes
The Lamb of God that rules the skies,
Bids them worship at His Shrine.
In pagan lands hard hearts he breaks,
Disciples for the Mister makes
Thy signs and merits conscience wakes,
Fount of eloquence divine!

The conqueror of kingdoms three,
Temples profane destroyed must be
Vain idol worship fain must flee,
For Christ are won these regions
In faith shine forth the Danes and Swedes
Where Bremen's faithful bishop leads
Icelanders, too, forsake their creeds
Greenlanders and Norwegians.

Oh, mind upraised, to things on high
Oh, salt of earth! oh sanctity!
Oh, light, no bushel hidden by,
Shining now with heavenly beam!
The warrior weeps, with grief cast down
Lest he should lose the martyr's crown,
'Twas surely promised for his own,
Once in brightest vision's gleam.

The Cup of Solomon the True
He drinketh ­yea, death's tortures too,
Though not by violent sword thrust through
Martyrdom he is denied.
Abuse and threats on every hand,
Tormentors, tyrants, round him stand,
His life a sign to every land
Faith triumphant will abide.

In hope of contemplation sweet
In thickest forest finds retreat
And there pours out oblation meet,
Corn and wine in Jesus name.
For though absorbed in cares of earth
He loves the things of highest worth
Two lives he leads; e’en from his birth
Brightly burns the sacred flame.

To Christ, of all his life the End
Triumphantly his steps do bend,
To Thee my spirit I commend,
Dear Lord’, he breathes, believing
Then to his brethren bids farewell,
Is taken up, in heaven to dwell
With rapture­ those who loved him well
Can scarce refrain their grieving.

Oh! Anskar blest, to thee we pray
As we revere thy name to­day,
Be thou our leader that we may
The path of virtue cherish.
Guide ever through the trackless world
Thy pilgrim sheep to the true fold,
Lest wolves upon thy flock take hold
And far from home we perish.