Thou hast shone within this soul of mine,
As the sun on a shrine of gold;
When I rest my heart, O Lord, on Thine,
My bliss is manifold.
My soul is the gem on Thy diadem,
And my marriage robe Thou art;
If aught could sever my heart from Thine,
The sorrow beyond all sorrows were mine,
Alone and apart.
Could I not find Thy love below,
Then would my soul as a pilgrim go
To Thy holy land above;
There would I love Thee as I were fain
With everlasting love.
Now have I sung my tuneless song,
But I hearken, Lord, for Thine;
So shall a music, sweet and strong,
Pass into mine.
“I am the Light, and the lamp thou art;
The River, and thou the thirsty land;
To thee thy sighs have drawn My heart,
And ever beneath thee is My Hand.
And when thou weepest it needs must be
Within Mine arms that encompass thee;
Thy heart from Mine can none divide,
For one are the Bridegroom and the Bride;
It is sweet, beloved, for Me and thee
To wait for the Day that is to be.”
O Lord, with hunger and thirst I wait,
With longing before Thy golden gate,
Till the Day shall dawn
When from Thy lips divine have passed
The sacred words that none may hear
But the soul that, loosed from the earth at last,
Hath laid her ear
To the mouth that speaks in the still sweet morn
Apart and alone—
Then shall the secret of love be told
The mystery known.
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 >