A Mother’s Sorrows (Äidin surut) from The Devil’s Sword (Hiiden miekka), Eino Leino

Portrait of Leino by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1917
Portrait of Leino by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1917

Leino wrote the libretto for Melartin’s oratorio (?) of the same name in 1906. The oratorio seems all but forgotten. Words written for music can have a considerably more fluid metre, though this is less of a challenge with the first of the three translations I’m doing. The others are “The Troubadour’s Song” (Trubaduurin laulu) and “Sukkamieli’s Rod” (Sukkamielen sauva).

.
Three the nights now, rolling stream,
grieving thusly, awful dream:
ever since my mourning’s onset
all my thoughts have been of poppet.

Thus I dream of horrid sword,
sand with bloody stain is scored.
Mother’s child’s in arms of Jesus,
slain in battle, cut to pieces.

Cup is rolling, spent, on floor,
dregs are drained, there is no more.
Faithful Lord from wayward feeling
save a mother’s pet with healing.

Clenched like this my fist before,
shaken was at heaven’s door,
crying out I did awaken
and, alert, was deathly shaken.

Maker, won’t you please prevent
foolish lad from time misspent
on account of proud insurgence,
God-denying, faith’s divergence?

Give a humble mind to him!
But, suppose he meets your whim,
take his life before deployment,
purge his sins before enjoyment!

Lord! what can I do but scream?
Hear you not its doleful theme?
May your will be done for ever.
Child’s a loan that you can sever.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::.

1. ÄIDIN SURUT

Kolme yötä peräkkäin
suurta surun unta näin,
siitä asti murhe mulla
mielessä on tuiretulla.

Unta näin ma miekasta,
verisestä hiekasta.
Kaitse Kiesus äidin lasta
sotateille sortumasta.

Näin ma maljan kuohuvan
kuivaks saakka sakkahan.
Totta Herra hekkumasta
estät emon lempilasta.

Nyrkin vielä viimeks näin
kohotetun taivoon päin,
huudahdin ja heräsin ma,
hereilläkin vapisin ma.

Ethän Luoja milloinkaan
hänen salli horjahtaa
itse-uhmaan ylpeähän,
jumalaansa kieltämähän?

Mieli nöyrä hälle suo!
Tai jos tahtosi on tuo,
tapa ennen taisteloihin,
syökse synnin nautinnoihin!

Herra! Mitä huusinkaan!
Ethän kuullut kauheaa?
Tee kuin tahdot Jeesus aina.
Lapseni on sulta laina.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

2 thoughts on “A Mother’s Sorrows (Äidin surut) from The Devil’s Sword (Hiiden miekka), Eino Leino

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