Thus speaks the Bride whose feet have trod
The chamber of eternal rest,
The secret treasure-house of God,
Where God is manifest:
“Created things, arise and flee,
Ye are but sorrow and care to me.”
This wide, wide world, so rich and fair,
Thou sure canst find thy solace there?
“Nay, ’neath the flowers the serpent glides,
Amidst the bravery envy hides.”
And is not Heaven enough for thee?
“Were God not there, ’twere a tomb to Me.”
O Bride, the saints in glory shine;
Can they not fill this heart of thine?
“Nay, were the Lamb their Light withdrawn,
The saints in gloom would weep and mourn.”
Can the Son of God not comfort thee?
“Yea, Christ and none besides for me.
For mine is a soul of noble birth,
That needeth more than Heaven and earth;
And the breath of God must draw me in
To the Heart that was riven for my sin.
For the Sun of the Godhead pours His rays
Through the crystal depths of His Manhood’s grace.
And the Spirit sent by Father and Son
Hath filled my soul, and my heart hath won;
And the longing and love are past and gone,
For all that is less than God alone—
God only, sweet to this heart of mine,
O wondrous death that is life divine!”
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 >