Am I a stranger here, on earth alone

Representative Text

Am I a stranger here, on earth alone,
When shall my weary days be past and gone?
When shall I find some respite, some relief
From this unsleeping pain, this haunting grief?

The joyful sun another morning brings,
I only wake to see care's piercing stings;
The soft moon comes with silent night and sleep,
And bringeth nought to me but time to weep.

My heart and conscience sorely wounded lie,
Struck by the arrows of Thy wrath, Most High!
From morn to eventide where'er I flee,
I find no hiding-place, great God, from Thee!

O Lord, be not so strict to mark my crimes!
Great God, dost thou remember yet those times
Of foolish thoughtlessness, when blind and young
My heart to vain delights of earth still clung?

Wilt Thou then always bear my sins in mind?
What offering, what atonement can I find!
Nought have I of mine own but sin and wrong,
But love and mercy, Lord, to Thee belong!

Oh therefore leave me not the wretched prey
Of those who seek to take my life away!
Yet though with streaming eyes to Thee I cry,
No answering voice comes from Thy throne on high.

Vain are my tears and prayers, vain all my woe,
While Thou dost fight against me as a foe;
The zeal of Thy just anger and Thy might
Have plunged my soul in blackest depths of night.

I sit alone; with tears I bathe my cheeks,
With bitter sighs and groans my spirit seeks,
For Him, who veils behind the clouds His face,
And hears not, as of old in happier days.

O that I had a dove's swift wings! I'd fly
Away to some far mountain lone and high, —
Yet could I not escape His mighty hand
Before whom all things bare and open stand.

Nay, rather let me suffer all His will,
Though His fierce anger beat upon me still,
A willing heart and patient mind, O God!
I bring to Thy sever but righteous rod.

Much have I sinned, I perish utterly
If my misdeeds be all avenged of Thee;
Yet, Lord of Hosts, doth not thy Word proclaim,
The Merciful is Thy most glorious name!

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #24

Author: Christoph Reusner

Reusner, Christoph, was a bookseller and bookbinder in Stockholm, and was probably born there, but date of birth is unknown. In 1675 he printed, and seems also to have edited, a collection of hymns for the German congregation at Stockholm, entitled Gottselige Haus-und Kirchen-Andacht, zu Dienst der Gemeine der Teutschen Kirche in Stockholm. This work contains a number of hymns signed "R," which have been ascribed to Reusner. By others this "R" has been taken to mean Regina, i.e. the Queen of Sweden [Ulrike Eleonoro, daughter of King Frederick in. of Denmark, born at Copenhagen, Sept. 11, 1656; became Queen of Sweden by her marriage with Charles xi. in 1680; died at Carlberg, July 26, 1693], but this ascription seems quite improbable. One of… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Am I a stranger here, on earth alone
Author: Christoph Reusner (1678)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Meter: 10.10.10.10
Language: English

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Lyra Germanica #57

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Lyra Germanica #24

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