Friday, 27 March 2015

"We plow the fields, and scatter" - Matthias Claudius, 1740-1815

FROM the German have been translated many of our richest hymns. Most of John Wesley's hymns in use among Methodists are those he has translated from German hymns, and chiefly those expressing the mystical faith of the Moravians. This harvest hymn of thanksgiving, "We plow the fields, and scatter," was translated from the German hymn of Matthias Claudius by Miss Jane Montgomery Campbell in 1861. She was the daughter of an English clergyman, and he was the son of a German clergyman. Claudius lived to be seventy-four years old and died in 1815, two years before Miss Campbell was born. 

This hymn was freely translated from a portion of a longer poem of seventeen verses with chorus. It appeared first in a sketch called Paul Erdmann's Feast. It was represented as the song that was sung at Paul's home by the peasants after the harvest was over. 

As may be inferred from this hymn, there was a wholesome cheer in the author s writings as well as in his life, and this in spite of the fact that he was not unaccustomed to hardships. Menzel has said of him that his genius never reached its fullest development because he was constantly harassed by his poverty. But he was a man of great piety, and his influence for good was very considerable. He chose to dwell upon the blessings with which God enriches us, and from his very heart he sang: 

"We thank Thee, then, O Father, 
For all things bright and good." 

0 comments:

Post a Comment