Hear my supplication

Hear my supplication,
smith of constellations.
Softly unto me
draw thy mercy.
Thus I invoke thee,
for thou hast crafted me.
Thy mere slave am I,
thou my Lord on high.

God, I call upon thee:
O hear, and heal me.
Mild King, pay heed,
thou our highest need.
Ruler of all might,
bountiful, blessed, bright:
drive sorrow deep
from my heart’s keep.

Guard me, O thou Mild King,
needful over all things,
throughout my hours
in mortal bowers.
O Virgin-born thou,
cleanse ev’ry motive now:
thy help impart
within my heart.

Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208), Icelandic poet-chieftain, is said to have composed the text “Heyr, himna smiður” upon his death-bed having been wounded in battle. The culturally-characteristic imagery of God as blacksmith of creation (v1 line 2), and of the human heart as a tower or citadel (v2 line 8), is retained in this translation, which has been written with the musical setting by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938–2013) in mind.


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