(translation by Art Funkhouser)
This is what we want to begin,
To sing about an old man
Who was from Haslibach,
He was called Haslibacher,
From the district of Sumiswald.
When the loving God let it come to pass
That he was harshly accused,
Verily because of his faith,
Then men caught him roughly,
Led him toward Bern, indeed into the city.
And now when he was apprehended,
Tormented and tortured severely,
Verily because of his faith alone,
Nevertheless he remained steadfast
In his torture, anguish, and pain.
On a Friday, I do understand,
The learned ones came to him,
Into the prison indeed,
And began to dispute with him,
That he should renounce his faith.
Haslibacher, at that point,
Had out-debated them,
Then he promptly said to them:
From my faith I will not depart,
Sooner would I give my body and life.
And now when it was Saturday,
The learned men went there again,
Speaking to him earnestly,
You must leave your faith,
Or man will strike off your head.
Very quickly he gave them this answer:
I will not depart from my faith,
I hold to it steadfastly,
For my faith is acceptable before God;
He will keep me in His protection and care.
And thus it was on Saturday night,
An angel of God came with might
Thither to Haslibacher,
Saying, God has sent me to you
To comfort you before your end.
Further do I counsel you,
From your faith do not depart,
Thereupon stand firm and steadfast,
Your faith is precious before God,
He will keep your soul in good care.
Even if man will threaten you severely
And would judge you with the sword,
Do not be afraid thereof;
I will stand by your side,
No pain will you receive through this.
And so when it was Monday,
The officials came once again
To where Haslibacher was,
Started to talk with him,
That he should deny his faith.
If not, said they without mockery,
Tomorrow you must suffer death.
Then Haslibacher said:
Before I give up my faith,
I would sooner let my head be cut off.
Listen how it was on Monday night,
When Haslibacher was fast asleep,
Until about midnight.
Then he dreamed it was day,
And men wanted to behead him.
Thereupon Haslibacher woke up,
Then about him it was bright as day;
A book lay before him.
An angel of God said to him,
Read what is written in this booklet.
Then when he read this booklet,
He found written therein
That men would behead him.
Three signs would God let appear,
That man had done him injustice.
And when he had finished reading it,
The darkness of night returned.
Quickly he fell asleep again,
And slept until the dawn of day.
Then the men came to him in prison.
The men bade him “good day”,
As soon as he thanked them.
The men said to him
That he should listen to God’s Word,
Or he must eat the “hangman’s meal”.
From my faith I will not depart,
The Word of God I know myself,
My cause I commit to God,
It is to my heart a light atonement,
That innocently I must die.
They then led him into the inn
And offered him food and drink,
With the executioner beside him,
Reminding him of the coming horror
If he would not recant his faith.
The Anabaptist spoke kindly to the executioner,
Now eat and drink, and be of good spirit,
You will this very day
Take my life and offer up my innocent blood.
However, it is well with my soul.
He also said, God will let you see
Three signs that you will understand indeed;
Man will see these shortly.
When you will cut off my head,
It will spring into my hat and laugh aloud.
The second sign will take place,
This will men see on the sun.
The third notice carefully,
The sun will become red as blood
And the town well will also sweat blood.
The judge to the lords said,
On these three signs take notice
And see on this indeed,
When all this should happen
It will be woe to your soul.
And when the meal was ended,
They wanted to tie his hands,
Then Haslibacher said,
I request from you, Master Lorenz,
That you leave me unbound.
I am willing and prepared,
My death certainly brings me great joy,
That I shall depart from hence.
But may God be merciful
To those who sentenced me to death.
When he came to the place of execution,
He took his hat off his head
And laid it before the people.
Good Master Lorenz, I bid you,
Let me lay my hat here.
With this he fell upon his knees,
The Lord’s Prayer, once or twice
He there did pray.
My cause is now committed to God,
Now let your sentence be carried out.
After man had cut off his head,
It sprang back into his hat.
The signs they did now see;
The sun was red as blood
And the town well sweated blood.
Then spoke an old gentleman well,
The Anabaptist’s mouth laughed in the hat
Then said a venerable old man,
Had you let the Anabaptist live,
It would have forever gone well with you
The lords said secretly,
No more Anabaptists will we judge
Then said an aged man,
Would it have gone according to my will,
Man would have let the Anabaptist live
The executioner said with displeasure,
Today I have judged innocent blood
Then said an older gentleman,
The Anabaptist’s mouth laughed in the hat,
This signifies God’s judgment and rod
He that wrote this song for us
Was in prison for his life’s sake;
He did it with love for sinners.
A man brought him quill and ink,
He gave us this as a farewell fit.