Monday, August 31, 2015

Thomas Kingo

Thomas Kingo (1634—1703) is a Danish poet, hymnist and bishop. Considered the greatest Danish poet of his day, Kingo wrote both romantic and political verse, but is best remembered for his poems of faith.

He wrote a songbook (1674) using common tunes for home devotional use, which included a different tune for each day of the week, featuring a morning song, an evening song, and a versification of one of David's penitential psalms. Also included were songs such as "Fare, World, Farewell" sung by a soul longing for heaven:
-------Loveliest roses are stiffest of thorn,
----------fairest of flowers with blight may corrode,
-------withering heart under rose-cheek is worn,
----------for yet is Fortune so strangely bestowed
-------------Here our land rides
-------------on peril-tides,
-------Blissfulness only in heaven abides.
(Stanza 5; translated by David Colbert)

In 1699 the hymnal he was commissioned to compile appeared. Of the 297 hymns in The Ordained New Church Hymnal, 86 were by Kingo himself. Some of his most moving poems include his elegies on death. His poems often personify such concepts as death, sorrow and joy.

The following morning hymn was translated by the Rev. P. C. Paulsen.

The Sun Arises Now in Light and Glory

The sun arises now
In light and glory
And gilds the rugged brow
Of mountains hoary.
Rejoice, my soul, and lift
Thy voice in singing
To God from earth below,
Thy song with joy aglow
And praises ringing.

As countless as the sand
And beyond measure,
As wide as sea and land
So is the treasure
Of grace which God each day
Anew bestoweth
And which, like pouring rain,
Into my soul again
Each morning floweth.

Preserve my soul today
From sin and blindness;
Surround me on my way
With loving kindness.
Embue my heart, O Lord,
With joy from heaven;
I then shall ask no more
Than what Thou hast of yore
In wisdom given.

Thou knowest best my needs,
My sighs Thou heedest,
Thy hand Thy children leads,
Thine own Thou feedest.
What should I more desire,
With Thee deciding
The course that I must take,
Then follow in the wake
Where Thou art guiding.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.