Beauty Surrounds Us

I’ve done earlier posts on this, so this will be short and sweet. I made some key revisions to my translation/paraphrase of a beautiful Danish hymn lyric (nearly unknown in the US) and I have a not-too-terrible recording to share. I plan to record something better soon, if I can ever manage to stop tinkering with the verses.

Here are my updated lyrics. It bears noting, especially if you are skipping past the video, that the tune is typically sung as “Beautiful Savior” or “Fairest Lord Jesus,” with standard lyrics translated from the German. The Danish imagery and underlying ideas are strikingly different:

Beauty surrounds us 
Beauty fills the earth and skies         
Oceans and forests and clouds and stars
Each generation 
Walking along our earthly path
Can join the song and add our part  

Empires may rise and fall
Waves of time roll over us  
Like our elders, we too must pass      
Always the song remains   
Ringing true through all our strife
To train our ears and guide our path 

Angels once taught this song
Shepherds learned it the night 
Still it sounds from soul to soul 
Peace to a broken world  
Comfort to the beaten down  
The grace of God proclaimed for all

Here and here are links to earlier posts about it. They give more information about the song’s history and my reflections on why the Danish version deserves more attention.

Of course the core strengths of either variant, German or Danish, can be undercut by inept translations. Whether this one avoids that fate is not for me to say. But let’s note that a key translation from the Danish rhymed “song” with “marching pilgrim throng” while another translation weeded out male-centric language in the German (the Danish has less of that to worry about) with a trade-off of rhyming “exhales his sweet perfume” with “hearts at this rejoice and bloom.” Surely my version has advantages at least at those two points!

Below is the music written out, in case someone wants to use it. I’m not in this for the money, so permission is granted if it’s simply to enhance worship. But please do give credit and do not re-publish or re-record for money without permission.

MBE standard notice: The time I spend on this blog is not in addition to a Twitter and FaceBook presence, but an alternative to it.  If you think anything here merits wider circulation, this will probably only happen if you circulate it. 

One thought on “Beauty Surrounds Us

  1. Pingback: A New Lyric for a Classic Christmas Song | MBE: Mark's blogging experiment

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