Monday, August 27, 2012

Jacobus Revius

Jacobus Revius (1586—1685) was a Dutch poet, Calvinist theologian and church historian. He was extremely opposed to Cartesian philosophy, and wrote against it. He attended several French universities where he became interested in Renaissance poetry. The English metaphysical poets, such as John Donne, were also influences.

During his lifetime his poetry was not popular; he was better known for his more controversial writing, and the history of his hometown of Deventer. Today, however, he is one of the few seventeenth century Dutch poets who are still being read; seven of his hymns are in the most popular hymn book in the Netherlands. Also many Dutch towns have streets named after him.

He Bore Our Griefs

No, it was not the Jews who crucified,
Nor who betrayed you in the judgment place,
Nor who, Lord Jesus, spat into your face,
Nor who with buffets struck you as you died.
No, it was not the soldiers fisted bold
Who lifted up the hammer and the nail,
Or raised the cursed cross on Calvary’s hill,
Or, gambling, tossed the dice to win your robe.
I am the one, O Lord, who brought you there,
I am the heavy cross you had to bear,
I am the rope that bound you to the tree,
The whip, the nail, the hammer, and the spear,
The blood-stained crown of thorns you had to wear:
It was my sin, alas, it was for me.

Translated by Henrietta ten Harmsel

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: