Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Peter Abelard

Reading a bit of Abelard this week for a class, I came across the following beautiful hymn, which, though well known to many, was new to me. This version is taken from A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham, edited by Eugene R. Fairweather (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006, 1956), 298-99. Enjoy.

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Hymn for Saturday Vespers

By Peter Abelard (translated by John Mason Neale)

O what their joy and their glory must be,
Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see!
Crown for the valiant; to weary ones rest;
God shall be all, and in all ever blest.

What are the Monarch, his court, and his throne?
What are the peace and the joy that they own?
Tell us, ye blest ones, that in it have share,
If what ye feel ye can fully declare.

Truly "Jerusalem" name we that shore,
"Vision of peace," that brings joy evermore!
Wish and fulfillment can severed be ne'er,
Nor the thing prayed for come short of the prayer.

We, where no trouble distraction can bring,
Safely the anthems of Sion shall sing;
While for thy grace, Lord, their voices of praise
Thy blessed people shall evermore raise.

There dawns no Sabbath, no Sabbath is o'er,
Those Sabbathkeepers have one and no more;
One and unending is that triumph song
Which to the angels and us shall belong.

Now in the meanwhile, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,
Through our long exile on Babylon's strand.

Low before Him with our praises we fall,
Of whom, and in whom, and through whom are all;
Of whom, the Father; and through whom, the Son;
In whom, the Spirit, with these ever One.

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