O Jesus Lord, most fair, most passing sweet,
In darkest hours revealed in love to me,
In those dark hours I fall before Thy feet,
I sing to Thee.
I join the song of love, and I adore
With those who worship Thee for evermore.
Thou art the Sun of every eye,
The Gladness everywhere,
The guiding Voice for ever nigh,
The Strength to do and bear;
The sacred Lore of wisdom’s store,
The Life of life to all,
The Order mystic, marvellous
In all things great and small.
Thy love hast Thou told from the days of old,
Thou hast written my name in Thy Book divine;
Engraved on Thy hands and Thy feet it stands,
And on Thy side as a sign;
O glorious Man in the garden of God,
Thy sacred Manhood is mine.
I kneel on the golden floor of Heaven
With my box of ointment sweet,
Grant unto me, Thy much forgiven,
To kiss and anoint Thy feet.
“Where wilt thou find that ointment rare,
O My belovèd one?”
Thou brakest my heart, and didst find it there,
Rest sweetly there alone.
“There is no embalming so sweet to Me
As to dwell, my well-belovèd, in thee.”
Lord, take me home to Thy palace fair,
So will I ever anoint Thee there.
“I will, but My plighted troth saith, ‘Wait,’
And My love saith, ‘Work to-day;’
My meekness saith, ‘Be of low estate,’
And My longing, ‘Watch and pray;’
My shame and sorrow say, ‘Bear My cross;’
My song saith, ‘Win the crown;’
My guerdon saith, ‘All else is loss;’
My patience saith, ‘Be still;’
Till thou shalt lay the burden down,
Then, when I will.
Then, beloved, the crown and palm,
And then the music and the psalm;
And the cup of joy My hand shall fill
Till it overflow;
And with singing I strike the harp of gold
I have tuned below.
The harp I tune in desolate years
Of sorrow and tears,
Till a music sweet the chords repeat,
Which all the heavens shall fill;
For the holy courts of God made meet,
Then, when I will.”
Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series), 1899
Mechthild of Helfta, or Mathilde in modern spelling, was a mystic author who lived in the Cisterian nunnery at Helfta near Eisleben, Germany. She is also known as Mechthild of Hackeborn, her parents' home. She was a younger sister of St. Gerturde of Hackeborn. She is mentioned in Bocaccio's Decameron, VII, 1, and in canto 28 of Dante's Purgatory. Cf. "Liber specialis gratiae" in Revelations Gertrudianae ac Mechtildianae (1877).
Her "Liber specialis gratiae" was popular in England and was translated into English in the fifteenth century. More recently it has been edited by Theresa A. Halligan as The Booke of Gostlye Grace of Mechtild of Hackeborn (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1979).
--Leonard Ellinwood, DNAH Arch… Go to person page >
Translator: Frances Bevan
Bevan, Emma Frances, née Shuttleworth, daughter of the Rev. Philip Nicholas Shuttleworth, Warden of New Coll., Oxford, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, was born at Oxford, Sept. 25, 1827, and was married to Mr. R. C. L. Bevan, of the Lombard Street banking firm, in 1856.
Mrs. Bevan published in 1858 a series of translations from the German as Songs of Eternal Life (Lond., Hamilton, Adams, & Co.), in a volume which, from its unusual size and comparative costliness, has received less attention than it deserves, for the trs. are decidedly above the average in merit. A number have come into common use, but almost always without her name, the best known being those noted under “O Gott, O Geist, O Licht dea Lebens," and "Jedes Herz will etwas… Go to person page >