Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baptism of the Lord: 1st Vespers

This is an alphabetic hymn. Both of the first two lines begin with "A" but then the next lines pretty consistently begin with the next letter of the alphabet, which I have highlighted in red. The third line of the third strophe starts with "clarumque" where "j" and "k" would be in the English alphabet, but I am assuming Latin has no "j" or "k" in its alphabet. (I have seen sometimes "i" written as "j" in older Latin chants; for example "eius" is written as "ejus", but late 20th-century editors seem to have suppressed the "j".) The alphabetical-ness keeps happening through the first four verses, but then ceases in the last verse, the doxology. Father Lentini also points out that this hymn has frequent "assonance:"

Assonance, (or medial rime) is the agreement in the vowel sounds of two or more words, when the consonant sounds preceding and following these vowels do not agree. Thus, strike and grindhat and man, 'rime' with each other according to the laws of assonance."
(J.W. Bright, Elements of English Versification, 1910)

I don't really see this kind of assonance in this hymn, but maybe somebody could demonstrate what Lentini could have meant when he pointed this out

A Patre Unigénite,
From the Father Thou comest
ad nos venis per Vírginem,
to us, Only-Begotten, through a Virgin,
baptísmi rore cónsecrans
consecrating all by the dew of baptism
cunctos, fide regénerans.
regenerating them by faith.

De cælo celsus pródiens
Down from high heaven proceeding
éxcipis formam hóminis,
Thou receivest the form of man,
factúram morte rédimens,
redeeming by your deaththose whom you made
gáudia vitæ lárgiens.
bestowing on them the everlasting blessedness of life.

Hoc te, Redémptor, quáesumus:
Redeemer, for this we beseech Thee:
illábere propítius,
Flow with mercy (well-disposed)
clarúmque nostris córdibus
into our hearts, Thy bright and
lumen præbe deíficum.
divinizing Light supply/produce there.

Mane nobíscum, Dómine,
Remain with us, O Lord
noctem obscúram rémove,
the nightly darkness take away,
omne delíctum áblue,
all sinwash away,
pie medélam tríbue.
the holy remedy grant to us.

O Christe, vita, véritas,
O Christ, our Life and our Truth,
tibi sit omnis glória,
to Thee be the glory of all,
quem Patris atque Spíritus
Thou whom the brilliance of Father and the Spirit
splendor revélat cáelitus. Amen.
reveal from heaven.

The author of this circa 10th-century hymn is unknown.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Epiphany of Our Lord: 1st Vespers and Lauds

This hymn comes from the Cathemerinon, which I have mentioned here in a previous blog post, where I told a little bit about the author Prudentius. This particular hymn comes from Chapter XII, Hymns for the Epiphany. I will include the English translation found in that first link, which is the Gutenberg e-book website version of that collection of hymns.

Quicúmque Christum quæritis,
All you, whoever seeks the Messiah
ulos in altum tóllite:
raise your eyes on high:
illic licébit vísere
in that place you will be permitted to see
signum perénnis glóriæ.
the sign of perennial glory.

Hæc stella, quæ solis rotam
This star, which defeats the wheel of the sun
vincit decór
e ac lúmine,
in both beauty and in luminescence
venísse terris núntiat
announces to the earth He has come
cum carne terréstri Deum.
[clothed] with earthly flesh [yet who is] God.

En, Pérsic
i ex orbis sinu,
Lo, Persian Magi from the bosom of the world
sol unde sumit iánuam,
from the door where the sun rises [the East]
cernunt perít
i intérpretes
they discern as expert interpreters
regále vexíllum magi.
the regal flag, the royal banner.

«Quis iste tantus — ínquiunt —
"Who is this who is so great—the y ask---
regnátor astris ímperans,
a king who commnds the stars,
quem sic tremunt cæléstia,
before whom the heavens tremble,
ui lux et æthra insérviunt?
to whom the stars and planets are submissive?"

Illústre quiddam cérnimus
"Something brilliant we discern
quod nésciat finem pati,
which can know no limit,
sublíme, cels
um, intérminum,
raised on high, lofty, without boundaries
antíquius cæl
o et chao.
more ancient than the sky, than primordial chaos!"

Hic ille rex est géntium
"This is He who is King of the nations
populíque rex Iudáici,
and King for the people of the Jews as well
promíssus Abrahæ patri
the One promised to Abraham the father
eiúsque in ævum sémini».
and to his seed for ages to come."

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
Jesus, to Thee be glory
qui te revélas géntibus,
Who doth reveal Thyself to the nations
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
with the Father and the gentle Spirit,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.
unto uncountable ages.

Prudentius, died circa 405.

Lift up your eyes, whoe'er ye be
That fare the new-born Christ to see:
For yonder is the shining sign
Of grace perennial and divine.

What means this star, whose piercing rays
Outshine the sun's resplendent blaze?
'Tis token sure that God is come
In mortal flesh to make His home.

Lo! from the regions of the morn
Wherein the radiant sun is born,
The Persian sages see on high
God's ensign shining in the sky.

Who is this sovereign (they enquire)
That lords it o'er the ethereal choir?
'Fore whom the heavens bow down afraid,
Of all the worlds of light obeyed?

Sure 'tis the sign most reverend
Of Being that doth know no end:
Of One in state sublime arrayed
Ere sky and chaos yet were made.

This is the King of Israel,
Of all in Gentile lands that dwell:
The King to Abram and his seed
Throughout all ages erst decreed.

Translation by R. Martin Pope, 1905

Friday, January 1, 2010

Octave of Christmas: Mary, Mother of God, Lauds

Fit porta Christi pérvia
The gate of Christ [Mary] has become passable
omni reférta grátia,
she is overflowing with all graces
transítque rex, et pérmanet
and the King has crossed over, yet the Gate
clausa, ut fuit, per sæcula.
remains closed, as it has been, and will be forever.

Summi Paréntis Fílius
The most high Father's Son
procéssit aula Vírginis,
procedes from the royal chamber of the Virgin,
sponsus, redémptor, cónditor
as Bridegroom, Redeemer, Maker
suæ gigas Ecclésiæ:
and Giant of His holy Church.

Honor matris et gáudium,
The honor and joy of His Mother [He is]
imménsa spes credéntium,
the infinitely great hope of those who believe, [He is]
lapis de monte véniens
the stone rolling down from the mountain [He is]
mundúmque replens grátia.
and filling the world with grace.

Exsúltet omnis ánima,
Let the souls of every being exalt,
quod nunc salvátor géntium
for now the Savior of the nations
advénit mundi Dóminus
the Lord of the earth has come
redímere quos cóndidit.
to redeem those whom He has made.

Christo sit omnis glória,
To Christ be all glory,
quem Pater Deum génuit,
God whom the Father has begotten,
quem Virgo mater édidit
Whom the Virgin Mother did bear
fecúnda Sancto Spíritu. Amen.
she who was made fruitful by the Holy Spirit.

Author unknown, 9th c.. Much used in ancient times for various feast of the Blessed Virgin, perhaps part of an alphabetical hymn. Other verses have been omitted for brevity.

Octave of Christmas: Mary, Mother of God, Office of Readings

Radix Iesse flóruit
The root of Jesse has blossomed
et virga fructum édidit;
and the sprout has borne fruit;
fecúnda partum prótulit
A fruitful woman has brought forth a child
et virgo mater pérmanet.
and the mother remains a virgin.

Præsæpe poni pértulit
He allowed Himself to be placed in a manger
qui lucis auctor éxstitit;
The Author of light has appeared;
cum Patre cælos cóndidit,
with the Father the heavens He created
sub matre pannos índuit.
beneath His mother he is wrapped in rags.

Legem dedit qui sæculo,
He who gave the universe its law,
cuius decem præcépta sunt,
from Whom the ten commandments came,
dignándo factus est homo
condescended to be made man
sub legis esse vínculo.
and to be subject to these laws.

Iam lux salúsque náscitur,
Now Light and Salvation has been born,
nox díffugit, mors víncitur;
night has run away, death has been conquered
veníte, gentes, crédite:
Come, peoples, believe
Deum María prótulit.
that Mary has brought forth God.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
Jesus, to Thee be glory,
qui natus es de Vírgine,
Thou who are born of a Virgin
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
with the Father and the nourishing Spirit,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.
unto eternal ages.

Author unknown. 7th-8th c. Fortunato? These are verses 4, 5, 7 & 8 of the hymn Agnócat omne saeculum sung at the Vespers of Annunciation, March 25.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Octave of Christmas: Mary, Most Holy Mother of God, Vespers

Here is the source of the beautiful hymn Of The Father's Love Begotten. I have no idea where they get the "evermore and evermore" which they stick in at the end of each verse, because it doesn't seem to be in the Latin.

I notice that most modern versions use the great J.M. Neale's translation of this hymn as the basis for Of The Father's Love Begotten. Neale seems to have left out the second verse "Corporis formam caduci" which is about Christ redeeming Adam's descendants from sin and death by taking on the form of a body with "limbs liable to death." Too bad, it was my favorite verse to translate. I hope I did it justice!

Corde natus ex Paréntis
Begotten from the heart of the Father
ante mundi exórdium,
before the beginning of the world,
Alpha et Omega vocátus,
Alpha and Omega named
ipse fons et cláusula
He Himself the source and conclusion
ómnium quæ sunt, fuérunt
of all things which exist, have existed
quæque post futúra sunt.
and whatever will exist afterwards.

Córporis formam cadúci,
In the form of fallen man's body,
membra morti obnóxia
with limbs liable to death
índuit, ne gens períret
He clothed Himself, lest His people perish
primoplásti ex gérmine,
which from the first-made's [Adam's] sprout did spring
mérserat quam lex profúndo
those whom the law of sin and death had drowned
noxiális tártaro.
held captive by deepest hell.

O beátus ortus ille,
O how blessed that birth
Virgo cum puérpera
when the Virgin delivered a child
édidit nostram salútem
she brought forth our salvation
feta Sancto Spíritu,
made fruitful by the Holy Spirit
et puer redémptor orbis
and the Child the Redeemer of the earth
os sacrátum prótulit.
presented His Holy face.

Ecce, quem vates vetústis
Behold, Him whom ancient sages
concinébant sæculis,
did chant about in olden times,
quem prophetárum fidéles
the One whom the faithful pages
páginæ spopónderant,
of the prophets had promised,
émicat promíssus olim:
He appears! the One promised once long ago:
cuncta colláudent eum!
Let all things praise Him!

Glóriam Patri melódis
Songs of the Father's glory
personémus vócibus;
let us ring out with our voices;
glóriam Christo canámus,
Let us sing as well the glory of Christ
matre nato vírgine,
born of the Virgin Mother,
inclitóque sempitérnam
and also renowned forever
glóriam Paráclito. Amen.
let us sing the glory of the Paraclete.

Prudentius, d.405.

Octave of Christmas: Vespers

Christe, redémptor ómnium,
Christ, redeemer of all men,
ex Patre, Patris Unice,
who from the Father, the Only-Begotten of the Father
solus ante princípium
alone, before the beginning of all things,
natus ineffabíliter,
is born in an ineffable way.

Tu lumen, tu splendor Patris,
Thou art Light, Thou art the brilliance of the Father,
tu spes perénnis ómnium,
you are the eternal hope of all men,
inténde quas fundunt preces
Hear Thou the prayers they pour out to Thee,
tui per orbem sérvuli.
those who serve Thee worldwide.

Salútis auctor, récole
Author of salvation, recall
quod nostri quondam córporis,
that at one moment in time Thou didst take unto Thyself,
ex illibáta Vírgine
being born of a spotless Virgin,
nascéndo, formam súmpseris.

the very form of our body.

Hic præsens testátur dies,
This present day testifies,
currens per anni círculum,
running through the course of the whole year,
quod solus a sede Patris
that you have arrived from the Father's throne
mundi salus advéneris;

as the sole salvation of the world.

Hunc cælum, terra, hunc mare,
In this heaven, on the earth and in this ocean,
hunc omne quod in eis est,
every being which is in them
auctórem advéntus tui
praise the Author of Thy coming,
laudat exsúltans cántico.

with exsultant song.

Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo
We also, who are redeemed
redémpti sumus sánguine,
by Thy holy blood,
ob diem natális tui
because of the day of Thy birth,
hymnum novum concínimus.
join in singing a new hymn to Thee.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
Jesus, to Thee be glory,
qui natus es de Vírgine,
who art born of a virgin,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
with the Father and the nourishing Spirit,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.
for eternal ages.

The sixth century author of this hymn is unknown.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Octave of Christmas: Lauds

A solis ortus cárdine
From the pole of the risen sun [the East Pole?]
adúsque terræ límitem
all the way to the ends of the earth
Christum canámus príncipem,
let us sing to Christ our supreme Prince
natum María Vírgine.
born of Mary the Virgin.

Beátus auctor sæculi
Blessed Author of the universe
servíle corpus índuit,
takes on Himself the body of his slaves
ut carne carnem líberans
so that freeing flesh by means of flesh
non pérderet quod cóndidit.
He might not lose what He made.

Clausæ paréntis víscera
Into the closed [intact] womb of His mother
cæléstis intrat grátia;
heavenly grace enters
venter puéllæ báiulat
this young woman's belly carries
secréta quæ non nóverat.
the Secret which she had not known.

Domus pudíci péctoris
The humble abode of her chaste breast
templum repénte fit Dei;
has suddenly become the very temple of God;
intácta nésciens virum
untouched, known carnally by no man
verbo concépit Fílium.
by one word of assent she conceived the Son.

Eníxa est puérpera
Brought forth a Child, this woman in labor
quem Gábriel prædíxerat,
Whom Gabriel had foretold,
quem matris alvo géstiens
Who exulted in the womb of His mother
clausus Ioánnes sénserat.
when the enclosed John He had sensed.

Feno iacére pértulit,
To be laid in the straw He allowed Himself
præsépe non abhórruit,
the manger He did not shrink from
parvóque lacte pastus est
and a little bit of milk He was fed
per quem nec ales ésurit.
from Whom even the bird assuages hunger.

Gaudet chorus cæléstium
Rejoices the chorus of heaven
et ángeli canunt Deum,
and the angels sing to God,
palámque fit pastóribus
and in the open appears to the shepherds
pastor, creátor ómnium.
the Shepherd, the Creator of all things.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
Jesus, to you be glory,
qui natus es de Vírgine,
for you are born of the Virgin,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
with the Father and the kind Spirit,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.
unto everlasting ages.

Sedulius, d. 450. Alphabetical hymn, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the alphabet, continued for four more stanzas in the Vespers hymn for Epiphany