Lyric Translations

Comet 1858

Over in the vastness an extraordinary shooting star

Appears morning and night from within the starry circle.

There is no planet as magnificent as this to be found.

Over thousands and thousands of miles,

Through beautiful places and valleys in the sky,

What man could search out its true nature?

It challenges all the resources of the great astronomers of the ages

With their telescopes to search to the extremes

And discover the furthest spheres.

Each age in its interval of time reveals a magnificence.

As though an angel from the land of light  

Rose on its wings on a journey of lightening

Seeing a myriad of new wonders in the valleys of the sky.

They will shake themselves loose from the foundation,

All materials will melt and the stars will fall.

The sun and the moon will darken.

Oh strange, strange hour.

(Benjamin Jenkins, 1858 – Welsh National Library)


Eternity! Eternity! How long are you, eternity?

Time moves towards you / Like a war horse in all its strength

Like the fastest runner / A ship to harbour or an arrow from a bow:

Like a round, complete sphere / without beginning nor ending;

As are you, eternity: without ending nor beginning

You are an unending circle / eternity is your centre;

Beyond the reach of any creature / which could try to measure you

(from the Welsh National Library’s archive)

The Sea of Glass

As though on a sea of glass / I rush from here hurriedly / Towards eternity 

Oh, pull me from the depths / To swim towards the heavens hurriedly / I try for my weak soul –

As I row away / I rise from the depths / To the end of my journey

Oh take my injured soul / From the crowded depths / To my gentle home

On a journey through the large, long waves

But on the other side we will sing / And marvel at your work.

All the materials will melt / And the earth and the sky with shake / From the terrible might

The stars in the heavens will fall / And your word will be proven / Clearly to us

But there is no room in the heavens for us

As though on a sea of glass / I rush from here hurriedly / Towards eternity

Oh, pull me from the depths / To swim towards the heavens

The clarion will sound before you / And the world will be lit up by white flames

And the sea and its waves will be fire      

The sun in the firmament will blacken / All the stars will fall

The dead will rise from their graves / A cry calling for them

They will say to the rocks: “Come for our heads”

In white robes / And their strings pulled tight / Singing fearlessly

There are thousands / Over in the heavens / Who came from the depths

And the fire and the water / Are like a tower / Take me, a weakling

In a coffin to keep me / Your name will be praised

Our lamps are dimming / We were not ready        

We must resist his mighty call

(from the Welsh National Library’s archive)                                  

Old Summer Carol

A young man am I, longing / To sing a gentle verse from my head;

And if you would like to do so / Never surprise me with a rebuke.

To my understanding I will sing / Soft words in praise of the Summer,

As I see, so easily / Its colour on the golden valley.

Meadows and clay / Everyone sees them easily,

Underneath beautiful light overhangs / The clover of May grows so beautifully.

Vegetables, labour, grain, / Fruit on trees

Heath, lily and full hedgerows.

The birds will be in the trees / With the break of day

The cuckoo and the black cockerel will come, / The round song thrush and its dear chicks,

And Philomela from the loveliest valley / With their most joyful, happy voices.