When mine eyes are dim with weeping,
And my tongue with grief is dumb;
And it is as if Thou wert sleeping,
When my heart calleth, “Come;”
When I hunger with bitter hunger
O Lord for Thee,
Where art Thou then, Belovèd?
Speak, speak to me—
“I am where I was in the ancient days,
I in Myself must be;
In all things I am, and in every place,
For there is no change in Me.
Where the sun is My Godhead, throned above,
For thee, O Mine own I wait;
I wait for thee in the Garden of love,
Till thou comest irradiate,
With the light that shines from My Face divine,
And I pluck the flowers for thee;
They are thine, beloved, for they are Mine,
And thou art one with Me.
In the tender grass by the waters still
I have made thy resting-place;
Thy rest shall be sweet in My holy will,
And sure in My changeless grace—
And I bend for thee the holy Tree,
Where blossoms the mystic Rod,
The highest of all the trees that be
In the Paradise of God.
And thou of that Tree of life shalt eat,
Of the Life that is in Me;
Thou shalt feed on the fruit that is good for meat,
And passing fair to see.
There, overshadowed by mighty wings
Of the Holy Spirit’s peace,
Beyond the sorrow of earthly things,
The toil and the tears shall cease.
And there beneath the eternal Tree
I will teach thy lips to sing,
The sweet new song that is strange to thee
In the land of thy banishing.
They follow the Lamb where’er He goes
To whom it is revealed;
The pure and the undefiled are those,
The ransomed and the sealed.
Thou shalt learn the speech and the music rare,
And thou shalt sing as they,
Not only there in my garden fair,
But here belovèd, to-day!
O Lord, a faint and a feeble voice
Is mine in this house of clay,
But Thy love hath made my lips rejoice,
And I can sing and say,
“I am pure, O Lord, for Thou art pure,
Thy love and mine are one;
And my robe is white, for Thine is white,
And brighter than the sun.
Thy mouth and mine can know no moan,
No note of man’s sad mirth,
But the everlasting joy alone
Unknown to songs of earth;
And for ever fed on that living Tree,
I will sing the song of Thy love with Thee.”
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 >