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Nach einer Prüfung kurzer Tage

Christian Fürchtegott Gellert

trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1869

When these brief trial-days are spent,

There dawns a glad eternity;

There, lost in measureless content,

Our tears and sorrows cease to be;

Here Virtue toils with earnest care,

Her glorious crown awaits her there.

True that the godly man may know

Some happy moments e'en on earth;

But joy is transient here below,

Imperfect all and little worth;

He is a man, and in his breast

Peace will but ebb and flow at best:


Now marred by sickness or by pain,

Now by the world's incessant noise,

Now by the foes that yet remain

Within him, whom no care destroys;

Now others from without impose

The burden of their faults and woes.

For here, where virtue oft is sad,

And vice as oft in splendour shines,

Where envy still pursues the glad,

And sorrow in oblivion pines,

Here man can nevermore be free

From grief, nor from infirmity.

Here I must seek, there I shall find;

For there shall Virtue all unfold

Before my holier purer mind

Her worth so great, so manifold;

The God of Love, whom I adore,

I there shall worship more and more.

There shall His wise, foreseeing will

Be all my joy, my choice alone;

And loveliness and rapture fill

My happy soul before His throne;

While ever-new delights are given,

To bid me feel that this is heaven.

There in that light shall I discern

What here on earth I dimly saw,

Those deep and wondrous counsels learn

Whose mystery filled me here with awe;

There trace with gratitude intense

The hidden links of Providence.


There at the footstool of my King,

Where glimpses of His Face I gain,

Shall I the "Holy, Holy," sing,

Unto the Lamb that once was slain,

While Cherubim and Seraphim

And all the heavens are praising Him.

Amid the holy angels placed,

Like them in holy happy mood,

Shall I the unmixed pleasure taste

Of godly converse with the good,

When each the other's rapture shares,

Their joy is mine, my gladness theirs.

And there shall I at last repay

With million blessings on his head,

The guide who taught me first God's way

And bade me boldly in it tread;

There shall I find the friend once more

I found and treasured here of yore.

Perchance,--ah would that this might be!--

Will some blest soul in that abode

Cry, "Hail! for thou hast rescued me

And won my heart to heaven and God!"

O God, what exquisite delight

To save a soul from sin and night!

Then what are ye, brief woes of Time,

When weighed with glory such as this,

Destined to be our lot sublime

From age to age of endless bliss?

How nought, how merely nought appears

This moment full of cares and fears!

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