Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth)

When the shepherds left their flocks
and carried the words of the angel’s
through the lowly gate
to the Mother and the Child.
the heavenly host continued to sing
in the starry spheres,
and the heavens echoed their sound:
“Peace, peace on Earth!”

Since the angels thus admonished
o, how many bloody deeds
has strife on its wild steed
and in its warlike armour done!
In how many holy nights
has the chorus of spirits hesitantly sung
with urgent prayer and mild reproach.
“Peace, peace on Earth!”

Yet it is an eternal belief
that the weak should not forever
fall victim to every bold
murderous gesture.
Something akin to justice
dwells in the midst of murder and horror,
and a kingdom shall gradually arise
that shall seek peace for the earth.

Gradually it shall take shape
and carry out its holy task,
shall forge weapons that are without danger,
fiery swords of justice;
and a kingly race
shall flourish with strong descendants
whose shining trumpets shall resound:
“Peace, peace on Earth!”
                    Original German by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898)