On the Persecuted Though Irrepressible Virtue

It is the greatest honor to be unconquerable
and like Hercules oppose misfortune.
Against resistant steel the sword is honed to boldness,
gains edge, acquires that heroic glow.
The laurel leaf defies fire and thunderbolt.
Virtue will not be harmed by malice;
no! Much more it kindles pure astonishment.
Misery and misfortune become virtue's wonder-shrine.

What adorns Cyrus's victory? Weapons of resistance.
Through wars alone Philip's son wins the world,
and Caesar gains the sceptre only after battle.
Crown and throne are not for lazy victors. Therefore,
meet misery with defiance! Let nothing turn you back!
The crown already hovers over you, held in God's hands.

Click here to read this sonnet in the original German.

On My Many and Varied Misfortunes

As many as the hedgehog’s quills must be the weapons
that protect me everywhere against capricious fortune
and stem the wounding hand’s assault on virtue.
Each hour and moment I must face this foe
that bristles like the hedgehog with its pricks and tricks.
For virtue’s sake I must defiantly confront
all fortune’s change and mutability.
While it plagues me, it chokes on its own pleasure.

For only a short while I must contend with fortune,
then I will triumph; defeated, it will follow me in chains.
If now, for virtue’s sake, I am despised and taunted,
I pay no heed, if only I may do my work.
If God is pleased, my pain will be repaid a thousandfold,
whether on earth or at his throne of bliss.

Click here to read this sonnet in the original German.

Ode to a Nightingale

Hear the noble nightingale’s
sweet song
echo through the woods.
With lyric verses
she fulfills
her duty to her Maker.

In the whitened tent
of the world
she sings.
Her zeal and effort aimed 
so that God’s praise
rings out with clarity:

To you, you, you O highest refuge
I offer without words
my gratitude.
My endless longing is
to raise on high
your honour.

Every feather summons praise
and demonstrates
your gentle goodness.
Grant that, when my wings are raised,
gratitude will ring out clearly 
from my heart.

Every little worm I eat
is indeed
a gift of your sending.
Accept, before this meal, Sustainer, 
this praise offering
and refresh me, always.

Be praised from this branch
where I alit to rest
And not to praise you.
No! Yet your renown will always 
here and everywhere
be drawn forth from me.

You, lovely songstress, 
with your song
have awakened me:
I’ll sing only of God’s grace
at which I’m always 
totally amazed. 

Click here to read this poem in the original German.

Faith’s eye-witness account of God’s Gracious Heart

It glows entirely with love. It swells with longing
to bless all people. It weaves benevolence,
is draped with fruits of wonder-working artistry
and without limit surges joyfully with help and comfort.
Abundant faithfulness and utter goodness.
Desire’s flame ignites Compassion’s passion
that runs and rises to its purpose with no tinge of vanity.

And more! A multitude of ways and means compete:
which shall best serve to save mankind?
The Son’s nativity deserves triumph’s pageantry:
his birth the worthiest means of reconciliation.
The Highest says: I can no longer wait. My aching
heart, enflamed with love and grace, is breaking. 

Click here to read this sonnet in the original German.