William of Orange born on this Day in 1533

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William of Orange, Born April 24, 1533

Willem Van Oranje, also known as “William the Silent”, was a Christian statesman, a patriot, and a martyr.  With constant faith, true courage, and loyalty to rightful authority, found himself a leader in the Dutch Revolt against Spain.  His native Netherlands won their independence, and the harsh persecution of Dutch Protestants by Roman Catholic Spain came to an end.  He was assassinated by an agent of the Spanish crown on July 10, 1584, when he went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Willem is the subject of the world’s oldest national anthem, a beautiful song about his life, faith and combat called Het Wilhelmus (1574):

Translated from Dutch, from Wikipedia:

William of Nassau
am I, of German blood.
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.

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.

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.

My life and fortune altogether
I have not spared you.
My brothers high in rank
have shown you this as well:
Count Adolf died
in battle in Frisia
His soul in eternal life
awaits the final judgement.

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.

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 tyranny,
which pierces my heart.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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