Hey people! 🙂
I haven’t been able to post Friday’s song of the day exactly on Friday, but it was Good Friday, and I’d planned for a long time in advance that I’d like to share with you something special on Good Friday. It’s already Easter today so Lent is over, but I still want to share it. And I think it’s all the more justified that it isn’t really a lenten hymn exactly, I suppose it can be sung at any time of the year. Because yes, what I want to share with you is a Catholic hymn. I don’t really listen to all that much Christian music outside of church unless sometimes as a form of prayer, or sometimes more folksy arrangements. But it kind of doesn’t sit right with me to listen to more serious Christian hymns the same way you do all other kinds of music, it feels a little weird, and I tend to dislike things like Gospel and similar. So that’s why there is a handful of Christian or Christian-themed songs on here, and no Polish Christian music of any kind. There’s also relatively little Polish music in general on here, so that’s also a small part of why I want to share this hymn.
I was introduced to it by my Mum, who has been listening to Adam Strug and his group Monodia Polska for years, because like me she has some affinity with traditional and folk music and Monodia Polska performs hymns and secular songs that have been transmitted orally since a long time. She has also always had a great fondness for old hymns, and she often hums some religious hymn while doing things (typically hymns that are still regularly sung in churches but just the older ones out of them), actually these days it’s nearly all the time that she does it, I guess it’s her form of aspiration. So one day she was humming something whose tune sounded intriguingly medieval and folky at the same time to me, so much that I thought it wasn’t a hymn for once haha, so I asked Mum, very surprised, what’s this folky thing she’s singing, and she said “Ufam W Bogu”. I was totally unfamiliar with it and wanted to look it up but then forgot. Then some time later my Mum and I were celebrating Holy Hour together (we usually do it together when we do, because my Mum has tons of old books with texts suitable for Holy Hour while I have none, and it’s hard to find good resources online for that). We had a couple minutes left at the end of the hour, so my Mum decided to play this hymn. I found it extremely moving and touching, I guess more than any other hymn before, because of its poignant lyrics and a melody that kind of stands out even though it’s simple. In my experience, there are few hymns which have both of these things at once. The next time I listened to it during prayer, I was in a bad place mentally which usually means the same spiritually, and it actually made me cry.
Even though like I said it’s definitely not a strictly lenten hymn, to me it has a sort of lenten “vibe” anyway, so this past Lent I often listened to it during prayer and prayed with its words. It’s such a pity that deep hymns like these aren’t sung more frequently in churches these days.
Like I’ve already mentioned, Monodia Polska (Polish Monody), is a singing group founded by Adam Strug, who popularises traditional Polish music. Here they are accompanied by Bartosz Izbicki on the organ.
I’ve no idea how old it is, but I guess it could even be medieval indeed, hence the language is very deliciously rusty. I like to think of myself as a fairly language-conscious person, but there actually are a few lines in this hymn that I’m not exactly sure if I even understand correctly. For example the second part of the first verse can feel a bit amusing from our modern Polish perspective, because if you want to translate it literally, it would be: “And [that] in such great sorrow of mine, [God will] graciously make me laugh”. It feels obvious that our current word for making someone laugh “rozśmieszyć” must have meant something else back then. I do get more or less what the lyrical subject means here but, not having any actual definition of what “rozśmieszyć” meant to people back then, I don’t know exactly. Hence, despite these days I feel pretty confident translating Polish lyrics into English, unlike in the beginnings of this blog, I thought I probably wouldn’t be able to do it this time. But I had to try and eventually I did, though there may be mistakes, such that I just didn’t know how to translate something, and csuch that I could have misunderstood what something’s supposed to mean exactly, and such that I didn’t know how to put something best in English in a way that would at least have some semblance to the original style. I rarely read Catholic stuff in English because it just feels right to do in Polish, and I rarely read anything very old in English, so that could contribute to this translation’s potentially poor quality. But at the end of the day it is there to show you more or less what this hymn is about and what it’s like, so that it can be more accessible to non-Polish speakers, rather than to show off Bibiel’s translating skills lol. Also, I decided to use Thou instead of You in reference to God, because I guess it feels more authentic in English, even though we’ve never had such special form of You reserved only for God so not sure if that was a good idea.
I trust in God in my misfortunes,
That He shall comfort me,
And in such great sorrow of mine,
Graciously lift me up.
He shall turn my weeping into joy,
May the mighty and evil moment,
Easily disperse it.
I myself do not know from where the wind shall come,
For pleasing refreshment,
I am already falling [and/or wobbling?],
Being without restraint.
My hope is trusting by itself,
It rectifies my mind,
And directs to the Lord,
Who lavishes with everything.
Even if I hid under ground,
There too Thou shalt find me,
Even if I enclosed myself in a rock,
Thou shalt still reach me there.
But I am standing far from Thee,
Like a sinner,
And saying: “O God, why hast Thou
Forsaken me, a wretch?”
All day, all night long I call,
My God, to Thee,
And Thou dost not want to find a place,
For my request.
Use Thou Thy mercy,
Spare Thou the great torment,
I have fallen almost whole,
By the wrath of Thine arm.