Dutch National Anthem - Wilhelmus (English translation)

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Dutch (Middle Dutch)

Dutch National Anthem - Wilhelmus

[1]
Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ick van Duytschen bloet,
Den Vaderlant getrouwe
Blyf ick tot in den doot:
Een Prince van Oraengien
Ben ick vrij onverveert,
Den Coninck van Hispaengien
Heb ick altijt gheeert.
 
[2]
In Godes vrees te leven
Heb ick altyt betracht,
Daerom ben ick verdreven
Om Landt om Luyd ghebracht:
Maer God sal mij regeren
Als een goet Instrument,
Dat ick zal wederkeeren
In mijnen Regiment.
 
[3]
Lydt u myn Ondersaten
Die oprecht zyn van aert,
Godt sal u niet verlaten
Al zijt ghy nu beswaert:
Die vroom begheert te leven
Bidt Godt nacht ende dach,
Dat hy my cracht wil gheven
Dat ick u helpen mach.
 
[4]
Lyf en goet al te samen
Heb ick u niet verschoont,
Mijn broeders hooch van Namen
Hebbent u oock vertoont:
Graef Adolff is ghebleven
In Vriesland in den slaech,
Syn Siel int ewich Leven
Verwacht den Jongsten dach.
 
[5]
Edel en Hooch gheboren
Van Keyserlicken Stam:
Een Vorst des Rijcks vercoren
Als een vroom Christen man,
Voor Godes Woort ghepreesen
Heb ick vrij onversaecht,
Als een Helt sonder vreesen
Mijn edel bloet ghewaecht.
 
[6]
Mijn Schilt ende betrouwen
Sijt ghy, o Godt mijn Heer,
Op u soo wil ick bouwen
Verlaet mij nimmermeer:
Dat ick doch vroom mach blijven
V dienaer taller stondt,
Die Tyranny verdrijven,
Die my mijn hert doorwondt.
 
[7]
Van al die my beswaren,
End mijn Vervolghers zijn,
Mijn Godt wilt doch bewaren
Den trouwen dienaer dijn:
Dat sy my niet verrasschen
In haren boosen moet,
Haer handen niet en wasschen
In mijn onschuldich bloet.
 
[8]
Als David moeste vluchten
Voor Saul den Tyran:
Soo heb ick moeten suchten
Met menich Edelman:
Maer Godt heeft hem verheven
Verlost uit alder noot,
Een Coninckrijk ghegheven
In Israel seer groot.
 
[9]
Na tsuer sal ick ontfanghen
Van Godt mijn Heer dat soet,
Daer na so doet verlanghen
Mijn Vorstelick ghemoet:
Dat is dat ick mach sterven
Met eeren in dat Velt,
Een eewich Rijck verwerven
Als een ghetrouwe Helt.
 
[10]
Niet doet my meer erbarmen
In mijnen wederspoet,
Dan dat men siet verarmen
Des Conincks Landen goet,
Dat v de Spaengiaerts crencken
O Edel Neerlandt soet,
Als ick daer aen ghedencke
Mijn Edel hert dat bloet.
 
[11]
Als een Prins op gheseten
Met mijner Heyres cracht,
Van den Tyran vermeten
Heb ick den Slach verwacht,
Die by Maestricht begraven
Bevreesde mijn ghewelt,
Mijn ruyters sach men draven.
Seer moedich door dat Velt.
 
[12]
Soo het den wille des Heeren
Op die tyt had gheweest,
Had ick gheern willen keeren
Van v dit swaer tempeest:
Maer de Heer van hier boven
Die alle dinck regeert.
Diemen altijd moet loven
En heeftet niet begheert.
 
[13]
Seer Prinslick was ghedreven
Mijn Princelick ghemoet,
Stantvastich is ghebleven
Mijn hert in teghenspoet,
Den Heer heb ick ghebeden
Van mijnes herten gront,
Dat hy mijn saeck wil reden,
Mijn onschult doen bekant.
 
[14]
Oorlof mijn arme Schapen
Die zijt in grooten noot,
V Herder sal niet slapen
Al zijt ghy nu verstroyt:
Tot Godt wilt v begheven,
Syn heylsaem Woort neemt aen,
Als vrome Christen leven,
Tsal hier haest zijn ghedaen.
 
[15]
Voor Godt wil ick belijden
End zijner grooter Macht,
Dat ick tot gheenen tijden
Den Coninck heb veracht:
Dan dat ick Godt den Heere
Der hoochster Maiesteyt,
Heb moeten obedieren,
In der gherechticheyt.
 
Submitted by joe1212 on Mon, 03/06/2013 - 20:51
Submitter's comments:

The Wilhelmus (sometimes known as the Wilhelmus van Nassouwe, "William of Nassau") is the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is the oldest and longest national anthem in the world. Its lyrics are in Middle Dutch (Middelnederlands in Dutch), the direct ancestor of modern Dutch. Most often, only the first and sixth verse (the bold ones) are sung. These are the official lyrics published by the Dutch government (http://www.wilhelmus.nl/tekst.html).
The Wilhelmus is an acrostychon: the first letters of its fifteen verses together form the word "Willem van Nassov" ("Willem van Nassau" => "William of Nassau").

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English translation

Dutch National Anthem - William

[1]
William of Nassau
am I, of German1blood.
Loyal to the fatherland
I will remain until I die.
A prince of Orange
am I, free and fearless.
The king of Spain
I have always honoured.2
 
[2]
To live in fear of God
I have always attempted.
Because of this I was ousted
bereft of my land and my people.
But God will direct me
like a good instrument.
So that I may return
to my domain.
 
[3]
Hold on my subjects,
who are honest by nature.
God will not abandon you
even though you now are in despair.
He who tries to live piously,
must pray to God day and night,
that He will give me strength
that I may help you.
 
[4]
My life and fortune altogether
I have not spared you.
My brothers high in rank
have shown you this as well:
Count Adolf3died
in battle4in Frisia5
His soul in eternal life
awaits the final judgement.
 
[5]
Noble and high-born,
of imperial descent,
Chosen a prince of the empire,
Like a pious Christian,
for the honoured word of God,
I have without hesitation
like a fearless hero,
ventured my own noble blood.
 
[6]
My shield and reliance
are you, o God my Lord.
It is you on whom I want to rely,
never leave me again.
[Grant] that I may remain brave,
your servant for always,
and [may] defeat the tyranny6,
which pierces my heart.
 
[7]
From all those that burden me
and are my pursuers,
my God, do save
your loyal servant.
That they may not surprise me
with their wicked plans
nor wash their hands
in my innocent blood.
 
[8]7
Like David, who was forced to flee
from Saul, the tyrant.
I had to sigh,
as did many other nobles.
But God raised him,
relieving him of despair,
and gave him a kingdom
very great in Israel.
 
[9]
After this sourness I will receive
from God my Lord the sweetness
For that longs so much
my noble mind
which is that I may die
with honour in the fields,
and gain an eternal realm
as a faithful hero.
 
[10]
Nothing makes me pity so much
in my adversity,
then that are seen to be impoverishing
the good lands of the King
That you are molested by the Spaniards,
O Noble Netherlands sweet,
when I think of that,
my noble heart bleeds.
 
[11]
Seated [on horseback] like a prince,
with my armed forces,
Defied by the tyrant,
I awaited the battle.
Those dug in at Maastricht
were afraid of my might
People saw my horsemen ride
bravely through the fields.
 
[12]
If it had been the Lord's will,
at the time,
I would have gladly relieved
you of this heavy tempest.
But the Lord above,
who rules all,
He who we should always praise,
did not desire so.
 
[13]
By a Christian mood was driven
My princely heart
Steadfast remained
my heart in adversity
To the Lord I prayed,
from the bottom of my heart,
that He may save my cause,
and proclaim my innocence.
 
[14]
Farewell, my poor sheep,
who are in deep despair.
Your shepherd will not sleep,
even though you are now dispersed.
Turn to God,
accept his curing word.
Live as a good Christian;
soon, it will be finished here.
 
[15]
I want to confess to God,
and to his great power
that I have never
despised the King.
except that to God the Lord,
the highest Majesty
I've been obedient
in justice.
 
  • 1. The word "Duytschen" in the first stanza as a reference to William's roots, whose modern Dutch equivalent, "Duits", exclusively means "German", could refer to William's ancestral house (Nassau) as well as to the lands of the Holy Roman Empire at large, including the Netherlands; scholars have pointed out that a sharp distinction between Duits ("German") and Diets ("Dutch"), which are dialectical variants of the same word, is unlikely to have existed in 16th-century usage.
  • 2. The last two lines of the first stanza indicate that the leader of the Dutch civil war against Spanish Empire of which they were part, had no specific quarrel with Philip II of Spain, but rather with his emissaries in the Low Countries, like Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba. This may have been because at the time (late 16th century) it was uncommon to publicly doubt the Divine Right of Kings.
  • 3. Count Adolf (1540-1568) was the second youngest brother of William of Nassou.
  • 4. Reference is made to the Battle of Heiligerlee (1568), part of the Dutch Revolt.
  • 5. Frisia (Friesland) = a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient, larger region of Frisia
  • 6. Reference is made to the reign of King Philip II of Spain (21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598) This reign ended after the Dutch Revolt in 1568, led by William of Nassou, who became ruler of the Seven Provinces (the Netherlands) soon afterwards.
  • 7. This stanza refers to biblical stories.
Submitted by joe1212 on Mon, 03/06/2013 - 21:19
Author's comments:

This is not my own translation. I took it from Wikipedia. I did add annotations, and I modified the lay-out a bit, though.

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