In two recent concerts, John King Carter, pianist and I, have sung five of the ten Biblical Songs, Opus 37, by Antonín Dvořák, originally composed in his native Czech. Here are the English texts and recordings of each of the songs.
Darkness and thunderclouds are round about him; judgment is his abode; righteousness his throne. Fire and flame he doth send, his enemies destroyeth in lightning and thunder. And through the world his stormy lightning flashed, earth saw and trembled. Trembling waited on his word. Mountains melt like wax when they behold the Lord, who is God of earth and heaven. When the Mighty One cometh, the heavens declare his righteousness and the earth his glory.
Hear, O hear my prayer, Lord my God, and hide not thyself from my entreaty. Hear my prayer, O hear my prayer; to the voice of my mourning give ear; O Lord, hear my prayer. Pained and sore is my heart; the fear of death lies heavy upon me, and terror hath encompassed me. And thus I spake: O, had I wings like a silver dove, I would fly far away and be at rest. Ah, far would I fly and rest me; the wilderness my home would I make. I would escape far from the stormwinds, tempest, and the fear of death.
O, my Shepherd is the Lord. I shall not want, shall want for nothing. In the soft pastures green, and beside waters clear, He leadeth me. He restoreth my soul; leadeth me in the paths, where I shall glorify His Name. Even though I must walk through the valley of death’s dark shadow; I shall fear, shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me now. And Thy rod, and Thy staff, they shall comfort me.
By the shore of the river Babylon, there we sat and wept, yea, we wept; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. And we did hang our harps on the willows that did stand in its midst. For they that had made us captives in bondage called for a joyful song; yea, they that wasted us said unto us: “Sing unto us, sing us a song of Zion!” But we said to our foes, “How shall we sing our glad songs to you, sing the song of God our Lord, being in a strange land?” If I ever forget my land, O Jerusalem! O, then may my right hand also forget all of its cunning.
Psalm 145:1-7 & 144:9
Songs of gladness will I sing thee, telling thy praises on a psaltery; O let my song find favor in thine eyes. I will delight in exalting thee, every day will I bless thy name, and I shall sing to my Savior. Lord my God, thou art all my delight, and great is thy mercy, and who shall declare all thy greatness and thy glory. O, glory and honor to thee and to thy works. Thy deeds are wonderful, passing all knowing. Yea, men shall tell of thy great mercy, and love, and thy wondrous insight; and I shall loudly sing of thy glory and thy power.