Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday Lauds Even Week revisited

Back in June when I translated this one, I said I'd like to know who wrote it. Now I know where to look. The translation is a bit improved now.

We attend to the works of virtue

Ætérne lucis cónditor,
Eternal creator of light
lux ipse totus et dies,
Light itself wholly and the complete day
noctem nec ullam séntiens
nor dost Thou feel any darkness
natúra lucis pérpeti,
given the nature of light eternal

2. Iam cedit pallens próximo
So the night cedes to the nearing pale dawn
diéi nox advéntui,
of the coming day
obtúndens lumen siderum
dimming the light of the stars
adest et clarus lúcifer.
as the gleaming morning star draws near.

3. Iam stratis læti súrgimus
So from our beds rejoicing we arise
grates canéntes et tuas,
and singing Thy glad thanks
quod cæcam noctem vicerit
for the sun has conquered the blind night
revéctans rursus sol diem.
and carried back the day once again.

4. Te nunc, ne carnis gáudia
Now we beg Thee, let no fleshly pleasures
blandis subrépant áestibus,
with alluring passions sneak up on us
dolis ne cedat sáeculi
let our mind not yield to the tricks of the age
mens nostra, sancta quáesumus.
we ask Thee, O Holy One.

5. Ira ne rixas próvocet,
Let anger not provoke violence
gulam ne venter íncitet,
nor the belly incite gluttonous appetite
opum pervértat ne famis,
let neither influence of hunger pervert
turpis ne luxus óccupet,
nor base luxury capture [our minds].

6. Sed firma mente sóbrii,
Rather with constant, sober hearts,
casto manéntes córpore
remaining chaste in body
totum fidéli spíritú
completely faithful in spirit
Christo ducámus hunc diem.
let us regard this day with Christ

7. Præsta, Pater piísime,
Patríque compare Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito
regnans per omne sáeculum. Amen.

The author of this 5th or 6th century hymn is unknown. It is recorded in the Rule of St. Aurelio.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday Lauds Even Week, revisited

Today I return to this hymn in light of what I read in Fr. Lentini's Te Decet Hymnus: The Hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours. There is not a lot of new info on this hymn, but I would like to improve the translation if possible.

Thou, Christ, art the true light

Lucis largítor spléndide,
Splendid Giver of light
cuius seréno lúmine
by whose serene lamp
post lapsa noctis témpora
after the night time has slipped away
dies refúsus pánditur,
the returning day is spread out

WONDROUS giver of the light!
By whose eternal ray serene,
After the lingering hours of night,
The glory of the morn is seen,

2. Tu verus mundi lúcifer,
Thou true morning star of the world
non is qui parvi síderis
Thou dost not pass like the lesser star (the sun)
ventúræ lucis núntius
though herald of the coming Light
angústo fulget lúmine,
shines scanty light,

Bringer of light indeed art thou;
Not like the common sun of day
That o'er the world is rising now
And shining with a narrow ray;

3. Sed toto sole clárior,
But more brilliant than the sun in all its glory,
lux ipse totus et dies,
Thou art light itself and complete day
intérna nostri péctoris
[brightening] our inmost soul
illúminans præcórdia.
illuminating our heart of hearts

Nay, brighter than the solar beam,
Thyself the sun and perfect light,
And in the breast thy tender gleam
Illumes with glory pure and bright.

4. Evíncat mentis cástitas
Let chastity of the mind overcome
quæ caro cupit árrogans,
those things the flesh desires amiss
sanctúmque puri córporis
a holy and chaste body
delúbrum servet spíritus.
may it keep as a temple of the spirit

Let not our minds be overcome
By false desire or deed of shame,
And be our hearts a shrine and home
Wherein shall burn thy holy flame.

5. Sit, Christe, rex piísime,
tibi Patrique glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

In my previous post on this hymn, I said this hymn was written by St. Hilary of Potiers, but Lentini says the author of this 6th century hymn is unknown. These are verses 1, 2, 3, and 7 (plus the doxology) of a longer hymn, the rest of which is sung at the Office of Readings on Friday diurno (when it is celebrated during the day as opposed to at night or very early morning).

Lentini also discloses that he changed the first two lines of verse 4. The original text was

Probrosas mentis castitas
Let the chastity of the mind the shameful
carnis vincat libidines,
lusts of the flesh defeat,

which Lentini says is un po' cruda, "a bit raw." Hmmmm.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Beheading of St. John the Baptist Lauds

You make smooth the way to follow Christ

O nimis felix meritíque celsi,
O blessed saint, exceedingly deserving of high reward,
nésciens labem nívei pudóris,
knowing no fault, of white, unstained sense of honor,
praépotens martyr eremíque cultor,
very powerful martyr and dweller in the wilderness,
máxime vatum.
greatest of the prophets.

O more than blessed, merit high attaining,
Pure as the snow-drift, innocent of evil,
Child of the desert, mightiet of Martyrs,
Greatest of Prophets.

2. Nunc potens nostri méritis opímis
Now powerful for us by your rich merits
péctoris duros lápides repélle,
drive away the hard stones of [our] hearts,
ásperum planans iter, et refléxos
make smooth our rough road, and our bent
dírige calles,
rocky paths make straight,

2. O may the virtue of thine intercession,
All stony hardness from our hearts expelling,
Smooth the rough places, and the crooked straighten
Here in the desert.

3. Ut pius mundi sator et redémptor,
That the holy Founder and Redeemer of the world,
méntibus pulsa mácula polítis,
into our polished hearts, stains having been driven out,
rite dignétur véniens sacrátos
solemnly may deign, when He comes, to direct
pónere gressus.
His holy footsteps.

3. Thus may our gracious Maker and Redeemer,
Seeking a station for His hallowed footsteps,
Find, when He cometh, temples undefiléd,
Meet to receive Him.

4. Láudibus cives célebrant supérni
With praise let the citizens of heaven extol
te, Deus simplex paritérque trine;
Thee, God one and equally three;
súpplices ac nos véniam precámur:
suppliantly we pray for pardon:
parce redémptis.
spare Thy redeemed ones.

4. Now as the Angels celebrate Thy praises,
Godhead essential, Trinity co-equal;
Spare They redeemed ones, as they bow before THee,
Pardon imploring.

Attributed, with some doubt, to Paul the Deacon (720-799). Metric translation by M. J. Blackner and G. H. Palmer, found in Britt p 260. These are verses 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the hymn Ut queant laxis where we get Ut, re, mi or as we know it in America, do, re, mi...anyways, it comes from the beginning syllables of certain words in the first staza of the hymn, which is traditionally sung at Vespers on June 24, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Since the hymn is so long, it is usually chopped up and sung at other hours. (verses 5-8 are sung at Matins under the title Antra desérti.

You may well wonder what happen to verse 10. Well, Fr. Lentini thought it was "a bit complicated" and so omitted it from the modern breviary. Thanks to Fr. Britt we still have it:

Serta ter denis álios corónant
Crowns thirty-fold crown some
Aucta creméntis, duplicáta quosdam;
enriched with increase, others double that;
Trina te fructu cumuláta centum
but a triple crown heaped with fruit a hundredfold
Néxibus ornant.
adorns thee.

Thirtyfold increase some with glory crowneth;
Sixtyfold fruitage prize for others winneth;
Hundredfold measure, thrice repeated, decks thee,
Blest one, for guerdon.

To quote Britt: "The stanza plainly refers to the Parable of the Sower, some of whose seed falling on good ground "brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixyfold and some thirtyfold" (Matt 13,8). Our Lord Himself explains the meaning of this parable (Matt. 13, 18-23). The triple crown ascribed to St. John is probably that referred to in the preceding stanza, viz., that of martyr, hermit, and prophet."

For good measure, Britt adds an extra translation of this verse by H. T. Henry (in meter no less):

Some crowns with glory thirtyfold are shining:
Others, a double flower and fruit combining:
Thy trinal chaplet bears an intertwining
Hundredfold fruitage.

I had the privelege of singing the first and last verse of this hymn at mass this morning, after communion.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Augustine Lauds and Vespers

Admirable convert, monk, bishop and doctor

Fulget in cælis célebris sacérdos,
A celebrated priest shines in the heavens,
stella doctórum rútilat corúsca,
the brilliant star of all wise doctors glows red,
lumen intáctum fídei per orbis
scattering the intact light of faith
clímata spargens.
over every clime of the world.

2. Cive tam claro, Sion o supérna,
Of so illustrious a citizen, O heavenly Zion,
læta dic laudes Dómino salútis,
utter joyful praises to the Lord of salvation
qui modis miris sibi vinxit ipsum
who in His wonderful ways bound this saint
lúmine complens.
perfecting him by light.

3. Hic fidem sacram vigil usque firmat,
This vigilant sentry confirms the holy faith at every point,
arma et errórum súbigit poténter,
and powerfully subjugates the weapons of errors,
sórdidos mores lavat et repéllit
washes and repels sordid habits
dógmate claro.
by clear teaching.

4. Qui, gregis Christi speculátor almus,
Nourishing watcher of Christ's flock,
énites clero monachísque forma,
be an outstanding model of cleric and of monk,
tu Dei nobis fáciem benígnam
make favorable the face of God towards us
fac prece semper.
always by your prayer.

5. Laus, honor, virtus Triádi beátæ,
Praise, honor, power to the blessed Triad,
cuius in terris studuísti amánter
whose glory you lovingly desired on earth
alta scrutári nitidáque in astris
on high to examine carefully in the stars
luce potíris. Amen.
the shining light you have received and grasped.

Attributed to the monk Eckbert of Schönau, 12th century.

You might wonder why Augustine's name does not appear. Fr. Lentini explains: "Not finding a hymn proper to St. Augustine of elevated enough tailoring, this hymn has been used, composed in honor of St. Gregory the Great, but well adaptable with some retouch." Some of the retouch that Lentini did was because the meter was not consistent. However, he defends Eckbert: "The author, a demonstrable expert, has certainly intended to compose a metric hymn; perhaps the metric defects are attributable to later hands."

In the first strophe, I previously translated lumen intáctum as "a lamp untouched," which I noticed was different from the translation of the erudite Jesuit Martin O'Keefe, who opts for "light of faith undiminished". One of the meanings of intáctum is "virgin," which we know Augustine most certainly was not, having fathered a child by a relationship previous to his conversion. But intactum modifies lumen "the light" and not sacérdos or stella. I assume we are to marvel at the mystery of a light which is "scattered" but yet remains "intact."

The last two lines of verse 2 were originally:

iubila, terra, meritis protecta
rejoice, O earth, protect by the merit
praesulis almi.
of so kind a patron.

Lentini changed these lines especially in honor of Augustine. He replaced it with the present text to "mention Augustine attaining to the mysterious ways of God."

The doxology (last verse) is new as well, "the intent of which is to recall the admirable writings of the Saint on the august mystery of the Trinity."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

Chosen sheep, not rejected

Scientiárum Dómino,
To the Lord of knowledge,
sit tibi iubilátio,
to Thee be glad rejoicing,
qui nostra vides íntima
who sees our inmost secrets
tuáque foves grátia.
and still favors us with Thy grace.

Qui bonum, pastor óptime,
Thou art good, Shepherd most kind,
dum servas, quæris pérditum,
while Thou watchest over us, Thou seekest the lost,
in páscuis ubérrimis
in rich pastures
nos iunge piis grégibus,
unite us with Thy faithful flocks,

Ne terror iræ iúdicis
Let not the terror of an angry judge
nos hædis iungat réprobis,
consign us to the rejected goats,
sed simus temet iúdice
but rather let us, with Thee Thyself as our judge,
oves ætérnæ páscuæ.
be sheep in Thy eternal pasture.

Tibi, Redémptor, glória,
To Thee, Redeemer, be glory,
honor, virtus, victória,
honor, strength, victory,
regnánti super ómnia
to Thee reigning over all things
per sæculórum saécula. Amen.
throught all time.

The author of this 8th or 9th century hymn is unknown.

Lentini changed the original text in two places, one is insignificant (ætérnæ for tuæ in verse 3, to supply a syllable) and one is kind of funny. In the third verse, the orignal 2nd line was
nos hædis iungat faetidis,
consign us to the stinky goats

I am not around goats a whole lot, but I can imagine that being consigned to being a stinky goat is a fate worse than death.

With this hymn, I have looked at each of the hymns assigned to Lauds, Vespers and the Office of Readings (both noctu and diurno) during Ordinary Time, 14 of each, 56 in all. I have reached my goal of doing this in the summer. I would like to be able to now supply each one with a sound file. We will see if my busy school-teaching schedule which begins soon will allow me to add that.

I owe a special debt of thanks to Figulus, who by brief but informative comments has greatly helped me raise the level of these translations.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Lauds Odd Week, revisited

Praying this hymn this morning with my previous translation in view, I realized how jumbled and confused my first attempt was. Now that I have a bit of experience and a few more tools, I'd like to try again:

Christ true Sun, make us sons of the light

Pergráta mundo núntiat
To the beautiful world the dawn announces
auróra solis spícula,
by the light of the dawn sun's ray
res et colóre véstiens
clothing things with color
iam cuncta dat nitéscere.
the dawn now make all things begins to shine

2. Qui sol per ævum praénites,
Thou shinest forth as the sun through the ages
o Christe, nobis vívidus,
O Christ, giving life to us
ad te canéntes vértimur,
we are turned to Thee chanting praise
te gestiéntes pérfrui.
eagerly exulting to enjoy Thee.

3. Tu Patris es sciéntia
Thou art knowledge of the Father
Verbúmque per quod ómnia
and the Word by which all things
miro refúlgent órdine
shine with wonderful order
mentésque nostras áttrahunt.
and attract our minds towards Thee.

4. Da lucis ut nos fílii
Make us sons of light that
sic ambulémus ímpigri,
we may walk with eagerness
ut Patris usque grátiam
that always the grace of the Father
mores et actus éxprimant.
our habits and actions may express.

5. Sincéra præsta ut prófluant
Grant that pure things may emanate
ex ore nostro iúgiter,
from our mouth continually,
et veritátis dúlcibus
and by the joys of delightful truth
ut excitémur gáudiis.
grant that we may be awakened.

6. Sit, Christe, rex piísime,
Christ, most loving King
tibi Patríque glória
to you and to the Father be glory
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
with the Spirit Paraclete
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.
unto endless ages.

This hymn is modern, written by the editor of the Liber Hymnarius, Dom Anselmo Lentini, of Monte Cassino, to whom I constantly refer in this blog.

Tuesday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

We sing to Thee, O Trinity, in adoration

O sacrosáncta Trínitas,
O most holy Trinity,
quæ cuncta condens órdinas,
Thou dost set in order all things Thou hast made
diem labóri députans
assigning labor to the day
noctem quiéti dédicas,
Thou dost dedicate the night for rest,

2. Te mane, simul véspere,
To Thee in the morning, also at evening,
te nocte ac die cánimus;
To Thee night and day do we sing;
in tua nos tu glória
do Thou in Thy glory
per cuncta serva témpora.
preserve us through all times/hours.

3. Nos ádsumus te cérnui
Here we are bowing before Thee
en adorántes fámuli;
behold Thy servants paying homage;
vota precésque súpplicum
offerings and prayers of suppliants
hymnis adiúnge caélitum.
add Thou to the hymns of the saints.

4. Præsta, Pater piísime,
Patríque compare Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito
regnans per onme saéculum. Amen.

Verse 1-2 are from an unknown 11th century author. Verse 3 is from an unknown 10th century author. Verse three was added to this extremely short hymn (2 verses). The third verse was taken from the hymn Adesto, sancta Trinitas, which is sung during the Easter season
(after the octave, ad libitum) at the Office of Readings.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

The Trinity our love, desire and joy

Deus de nullo véniens,
God coming from nothing,
Deus de Deo pródiens,
God proceeding from God,
Deus ab his progrédiens,
God going forth from these
in nos veni subvéniens.
come among us, rescuing.

2. Tu nostrum desidérium,
Be Thou our desire,
tu sis amor et gáudium;
be Thou our love and delight;
in te nostra cupíditas
May our passion be for Thee
et sit in te iucúnditas.
and may our happiness be in Thee.

3. Pater, cunctórum Dómine,
Father, Lord of all,
cum Génito de Vírgine,
together with He-who-was-begotten-of-a-virgin,
intus et in circúitu
within and all around
nos rege Sancto Spíritu.
direct us by the Holy Spirit.

4. Meménto, sancta Trinitas,
Remember, Holy Trinity,
quod tua fecit bónitas,
what Thy goodness has done,
créando prius hóminem,
first creating man,
recreándo per sánguinem.
then restoring him through Thy blood.

5. Nam quo creávit Unitas,
For that which Unity has created,
redémit Christi cáritas;
the charity of Christ has redeemed;
patiéndo tunc díligens,
may the One who suffered then in His love,
nunc díligat nos éligens.
now love us as His chosen.

6. Tríadi sanctæ gáudium,
To the Holy Triad be joy,
pax, virtus et impérium,
peace, strength and authority,
decus, omnipoténtia,
glory, almighty power,
laus, honor, reveréntia. Amen.
praise, honor, reverence.

The author of this (at least) 14th century hymn is unknown.

One verse was omitted in this hymn, for brevity, but also because Fr. Lentini thought it "plays too much with the words and the alliterations, and it preempts the 5th verse." I'll let you decide:

Regendo clemens corrige
By merciful rule correct us
et corrigendo dirige,
and by correcting direct us
diligendo nos eligas
by holding us dear choose us
et cum electis colligas
and with the chosen unite us

[Yeah, I kinda it was OK to omit that verse...]

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

The soul, flood of the Spirit, brings God with itself

Adésto, rerum cónditor,
Be present, Creator of all things,
patérnæ lucis glória,
glory of Fatherly light
cuius amóta grátia
when Thy grace is taken away
nostra pavéscunt péctora.
our souls become alarmed.

Tuóque plena Spíritu,
And (our souls) filled with Thy Spirit,
secum Deum gestántia,
carrying God with them,
nil rapiéntis pérfidi
to nothing of the destroying faithless (one)
diris patéscant fráudibus,
may they be open by awful fraud

Ut inter actus saéculi
That among the deeds of the world
vitæ quos usus éxigit,
which making use of life requires,
omni caréntes crímine
may we be free from all sin
tuis vivámus légibus.
may we live by Thy laws.

Sit, Christe, rex piísime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

The author of the (earlier than) sixth century hymn is unknown, according to Fr. Lentini.

He also says that this hymn is made up of verses 4, 5, and 6 of the hymn Lucis largitor splendide which we sing on Even Mondays at Morning prayer. If you follow that link, you find out that others think this hymn was written by St. Hilary of Potiers.

The 2nd and 3rd stanzas of this hymn were exceedingly difficult. I hope I did them justice. When I go back and read through my translation of the hymn and the thoughts seems to hang together...this makes me think that I got the sense of the writer. Here is a quick schematic of each verse as I see it:

1. Be present O Lord, because our hearts are distressed without your grace,
2. but when you fill them with the Spirit, God is within us and nothing bad can harm us
3. so that even as we go about tasks which may be worldly, we can live by Your principles and stay free from sin.

A very cool prayer on this Queenship of Mary. Fiat, fiat.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

The felicitous love which thirsts for Truth

1. Amóris sensus érige
Arouse the feelings of love
ad te, largítor véniæ,
toward Thee, O generous Giver of pardon,
ut fias clemens córdibus
that Thou mayest bring about mercy to hearts
purgátis inde sórdibus.
cleansed therein from sin.

5. Extérni huc advénimus
As strangers we come here
et éxsules ingémimus;
and as exiles we groan;
tu portus es et pátria,
Thou art both refuge and fatherland,
ad vitæ duc nos átria.
lead us to Thy palace of life.

6. Felix quæ sitit cáritas
Happy the love that thirsts for Charity
te fontem vitæ, o Véritas;
Thou fountain of life, O Truth;
beáti valde óculi
most blessed the eyes
te speculántis pópuli.
of those who gaze on Thee.

7. Grandis est tibi glória
It is a great glory to Thee
tuæ laudis memória,
the recollection of Thy praise
quam sine fine célebrant
which without ceasing they glorify Thee
qui cor ab imis élevant.
those who raise up their heart from the lowest.

9. Præsta, Pater piísime,
Patríque compare Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito
regnans per omne sæculum. Amen.

The author of this (at least) 10th century hymn is unknown. Lentini omitted verses 2-4 and 8 with the comment that they were "less meaningful." I wonder why? Can anyone find these lost verses?

Wednesday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

Give us love and faith, victory against Satan

Christe, lux vera, bónitas et vita,
O Christ, true light, goodness and life,
gáudium mundi, píetas imménsa
joy of the world, holiness immeasurable
qui nos a morte vívido salvásti
Thou who hast saved us from a living death
sánguine tuo,
by Thy blood,

2. Insere tuum, pétimus, amórem
Plant thy love, we beg,
méntibus nostris, fídei refúnde
in our minds, pour forth faith's
lumen ætérnum, caritátis auge
eternal light, increase charity's
burning love.

3. Procul a nobis pérfidus absístat
May deceitful Satan go far away from us
Satan, a tuis víribus confractus;
by Thy strength destroyed;
Sanctus assístat Spíritus, a tua
Let the Holy Spirit stand by us, from Thy
sede demíssus.
Throne sent down.

4. Glória Deo sit ætérno Patri,
sit tibi semper, Genitóris Nate,
cum quo per cuncta Spíritus æquális
sæcula regnat. Amen.

The author of this (circa) 10th century hymn is unknown. See yesterday's diurno hymn for more details.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

Always awaiting Thee with lamps burning

Ad preces nostras deitátis aures,
To our prayers, the divine ears,
Deus, inclína pietáte sola;
O God, incline who alone art holy;
súpplicum vota súscipe, precámur
receive our prayer, offered on bended knee, we beg
fámuli tui.
from thy servants.

Réspice clemens sólio de sancto
Merciful One, gaze from Thy holy throne
vultu seréno, lámpadas illústra
with tranquil face, light up our lamps
ólei nostri, ténebras depélle
filled with our oil, drive away all the darkness
péctore cunctas.
from our hearts.

Crímina laxa pietáte multa,
Forgive our crimes by Thy great love,
áblue sordes, víncula disrúmpe,
wash away the filth, burst our chains,
parce peccátis, réleva iacéntes
spare us our sins, reveal those who lie in ruins
déxtera tua.
bring them to Thy right hand/side.

Glória sit ætérno Patri,
Glory be to the eternal Father,
sit tibi semper, Genitóris Nate,
and always to Thee, O Son of the Father,
cum quo per cuncta Spíritus æquális
who reigns with the equally divine Spirit
sæcula regnat. Amen.
through all ages.

The author of this c. 10th century hymn is unknown. This hymn was very widespread in the middle ages, especially used for Lent, preserved also from the Breviary of Pius V. These are verses 1, 2, 3 and 9 of a longer hymn. Verses 5, 6 and 8 appear in tomorrow's diurno hymn.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

Invocation of help

Vita sanctórum, via, spes salúsque,
Life of the saints, the Way, and Hope of salvation,
Christe largítor probitátis atque
O Christ, generous giver of uprightness and
cónditor pacis, tibi voce, sensu,
Author of peace, to Thee with song and with feeling,
pángimus hymnum:
we compose a hymn:

2. Cuius est virtus manifésta totum
Manifest (O Christ) that it is by your strength
quod pii posunt quod habent, quod ore,
all that the faithful are able (to do), all they have, whether by word,
corde vel factis cúpiunt, amóris
in the heart or by deed they desire,
igne flagrántes.
while burning with the fire of love.

3. Témporum pacem, fídei tenórem,
Peace in our time, steady course of faith
lánguidis curam veniámque lapsis,
cure for the sluggish and pardon for the fallen,
ómnibus præsta páriter beátæ
these grant to all equally, the gifts
múnera vitæ.
of the saintly life.

4. Æqua laus summum célebret Paréntem
Let equal praise honor the highest Father
teque, Salvátor, pie rex, per ævum;
and Thee, Savior, Holy King, through all time;
Spíritus Sancti résonet per omnem
may the glory of the Holy Spirit resound
glória mundum. Amen.
through all the universe.
Text: Walafrid Strabo ['squinter'] German monk and poet, d. 849

This was a difficult hymn to translate, especially the 2nd verse. I wish to acknowledge the help of Fr. Martin O'Keefe, S.J. from his book Exultemus: Rejoicing with God in the Hymns of the Roman Breviary, sent to me most kindly by bluejeepsiamese. [I'll have to get on the stick and send him back his Lentini this week, and start making a copy of the Neale translations he sent me!]

By the way, Walafrid the Squinter, who wrote this hymn, seems like a really interesting character. According to this article by Arthur Remy in the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia, he penned a popular (in its time) commentary on Scripture, the Glosa Ordinaria, as well as a life of St. Gall. He also wrote a kind of precursor to Dante's Divine Comedy called The Vision of Wettin. All of his [extant]works in Latin can be found here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Office of Readings Even Week diurno

Today's hymn is a barn burner. The melody goes quite high and varies like a sequence. For those who are not familiar with the structure of the melody in a sequence such as Victimae Paschali Laudes at Easter or Lauda Sion at Corpus Christi, the verses are grouped in twos. Verses one and two have the same melody. Verses three and four then share a different melody from verses one and two, and so on through the end of the piece. It helps if you don't know the piece to listen to the odd-numbered verses and sing only the even-numbered verses. Try it!

Triumphal day of the Resurrection

Salve dies, diérum glória,
Hail the day, the glory of days,
dies felix Christi victória,
happy day of Christ's victory,
dies digna iugi lætitia,
day worthy of overflowing joy,
dies prima.
the first day.

HAIL, day, the glory of all days, to thee !
Thrice happy day, Christ's day of victory !
The first day ! day most fit continually
Our joy to show !

2. Lux divína cæcis irrádiat,
Light divine beams forth upon the blind,
in qua Chrístus inférnum spóliat,
by which Christ despoils hell,
mortem vincit et reconcíliat
conquers death and reconciles
summis ima.
from top to bottom.

2. This day divine illuminates blind eyes,
Upon which Christ of hell's dark realms makes prize,
O'ercometh death and joins in one the skies
And earth below.

3. Sempitérni regis senténtia
The sentence of the eternal King
sub peccáto conclúsit ómnia;
has confined all men under sin;
ut infirmis supérna grátia
but so that heavenly grace the weak
might rescue,

3. The judgment of the everlasting King
Hath under sin concluded everything,
That heavenly grace the weak and wavering
Might come to aid.

4. Dei virtus et sapiéntia
God's strength and wisdom
temperávit iram cleméntia,
has tempered wrath with mercy,
cum iam mundus in præcipítia
when already the world headlong over a cliff,
totus iret.
the whole, was marching.

4. God's goodness and His wisdom from on high
His wrath hath tempered with His clemency,
Now when all earth was being rapidly
In ruin laid.

9. Resurréxit liber ab inferis
He has risen, free from death
restaurátor humáni géneris,
Renewer of the human race,
ovem suam repórtans úmeris
His sheep carrying back on His shoulders
ad supérna.
to heaven.

9. Free hath He risen from depths of hell below,
Who hath the human race re-fashioned so,
And, on His shoulder borne, His sheep He now
To heaven doth raise.

10. Angelórum pax fit et hóminum,
Peace arises among angels and men,
plenitúdo succréscit órdinum,
its fullness swells up through the ranks,
triumphántem laus decet Dóminum,
praise befits our triumphant conquering Lord,
laus ætérna.
praise eternal.

10. 'Twixt men and angels is there perfect peace ;
The ranks of heaven now swell to full increase ;
Praise to the Lord Who maketh wars to cease,
Eternal praise !

11. Harmoníæ cæléstis pátriæ
With the melodies of our heavenly fatherland
vox concórdet matris Ecclésiæ,
let the voice of Mother Church harmonize,
« Allelúia » frequéntet hódie
let the faithful people sing today repeatedly
plebs fidélis.

11. O let the voice of Mother-Church agree
With heaven, our fatherland's, bright harmony,
And alleluias from the faithful be
Countless to-day !

12. Triumpháto mortis império,
Having completely conquered the regime of death,
triumpháli fruámur gáudio;
let us enjoy triumphal delight;
in terra pax, et iubilátio
on earth, peace, and rejoicing
sit in cælis.
let be in heaven.

12. The power of death o'ercome effectually,
Let us enjoy the joys of victory :
On earth be peace and jubilee on high
In heaven for aye !
Non dicitur Amen in fine.
The "Amen" is not said at the end.
Very probably composed by Adam of St. Victor (d. after 1150).

These are verses 1-4 and 9-12 of a longer hymn. Lentini calls it a "splendid composition" which could also serve well at the Paschal time.

I personally first came in conscious contact with the hymns of Adam of St. Victor through the recording The Age of Cathedrals done by Theatre of Voices directed by Paul Hilliard. Reading the liner notes of the CD while listening to the recording make you feel like you are standing in Notre Dame cathedral with sunlight pouring through the stained-glass windows, your heart filled with holy joy as you listen to the glorious chant. Adam of St. Victor's hymns were especially vivid and filled with wonderful images. I love the triumphant melodies of today's hymn.

Poking around online I found that the entire text (look on page 64) of The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St. Victor By Adam L. Gautier on Google Books! That is the source of the metrical translation above. Included below are the four "missing" verses with their metrical translations. [The text on Gautier's book included an "Amen" at the end, so I'm interested to know why Lentini omitted it.]

5. Insultabat nostrae miseriae,
Vetus hostis, auctor malitiae,
Quia nulla spes erat veniae
De peccatis ;

5. The father of all lies, man's ancient foe,
Was trampling on us in our bitter woe,
Because no hope of pardon here below
For sin was left ;

6. Desperante mundo remedium,
Dum tenerent cuncta silentium,
Deus Pater emisit Filium

6. When thus the earth despaired of cure for sin,
And silence reigned o'er it and all therein,
Forth God the Father sent His Son to men
Of hope bereft.

7. Praedo vorax, monstrum tartareum,
Carnem videns, nec cavens laqueum,
In latentem ruens aculeum
Aduncatur ;

7. The insatiate robber, monster hell did bear,
Seeing the bait, but heedless of the snare,
Rushing upon the hook's point hidden there,
On it is caught ;

8. Dignitatis primae conditio
Reformatur nobis in Filio
Cujus nova nos resurrectio

8. The dignity of man, as first begun,
Is now re-fashioned for us in the Son,
By Whose new resurrection to each one
Comfort is brought.

I'd sure like to know the melodies for these verses as well!

UPDATE: here is a recording with mostly different melodies (different from what's in Liber Hymnarius) for you to listen to if you have a "Rhapsody 25" account. It has all twelve verses though.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

Final invocation of help

Auctor perénnis glóriæ,
Founder of perennial glory,
qui septifórmis grátiæ
who with seven-fold graces
das Spíritum credéntibus,
Thou dost give the Spirit to believers,
assíste mitis ómnibus.
defend us all with mercy.

Expélle morbos córporum,
Expel the diseases of our bodies,
mentis repélle scándalum,
drive away the stumbling block from our minds,
exscínde vires críminum,
destroy the power of sin,
fuga dolóres córdium.
put to flight the anguish of our hearts.

Serénas mentes éffice,
Produce tranquil minds,
opus honéstum pérfice,
accomplish the upright work,
preces orántum áccipe,
accept our beseeching prayers,
vitam perénnem tríbue.
grant us life eternal.

Septem diérum cúrsibus
Running over the course of seven days
nunc tempus omne dúcitur
all time is now led
octávus ille últimus
that eighth and last one
dies erit iudícii.
will be the day of judgement.

In quo, Redémptor quæsumus,
In view of this, O Redeemer we beg,
ne nos in ira árguas,
lest Thou convict us in Thy wrath,
sed a sinístra libera,
rather absolve us from your left,
ad déxteram nos cólloca,
and position us at your right.

Ut, cum preces suscéperis
So that when Thou receivest the prayers
clemens tuárum plébium,
of Thy people with mercy,
reddámus omnes glóriam
may all of us return the glory
trino Deo per sæcula. Amen.
to our Triune God forever.

The author of this hymn is unknown, and the century of its composition uncertain.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

The shield with the sign of the cross

Adésto, Christe, córdibus,
Be present, O Christ, to our souls,
celsa redémptis cáritas;
by noble charity redeemed;
infúnde nostris férvidos
pour Thou into us fervent
fletus, rogámus, vócibus.
weeping, we beg, in our song.

Ad te preces, piísime
To Thee prayers, most holy
Iesu, fide profúndimus;
Jesus, with faith we pour out;
dimítte, Christe, quaésumus,
forgive, O Christ, we ask Thee
factis malum quod fécimus.
the evil deeds which we have done.

Sanctæ crucis signáculo,
By the seal of Thy holy cross,
tuo sacráto córpore,
consecrated by Thy body,
defénde nos ut fílios
defend us as sons
omnes, rogámus, úndique.
all of us, we beg, in every place.

Sit, Christe, rex piísime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

Attributed, perhaps in error, to St. Bede the Venerable (d. 735).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

Prayer against the passions

Christe, precámur ádnuas
Christ, we pray that Thou wouldst smile upon
orántibus servis tuis,
the prayers of Thy servants,
iníquitas hæc saéculi
lest this iniquity of the world
ne nostrum captívet fidem.
take our faith captive.

Non cogitémus ímpie,
Let us not think wicked thoughts,
invideámus némini,
let us envy no one,
læsi non reddámus vicem,
let us not repay injuries,
vincámus in bono malum.
let us conquer evil with good.

Absit nostris e córdibus
Let (these) be far from our hearts:
ira, dolus, supérbia;
anger, deciet, arrogance;
absístat avarítia,
let greedy avarice depart
malórum radix ómnium.
(greed being)the root of all evils.

Consérvet pacis foédera
Let the bond of peace stay intact
non simuláta cáritas;
with unfeigned charity;
sit illibáta cástitas
let chastity remain intact
credulitáte pérpeti.
with lasting trustfulness.

Sit, Christe, rex piísime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

The author of this 7th-8th century hymn is unknown. This hymn contains verse 4,5,6, & 8 of the hymn Diei luce reddita, most of the rest of which is sung at Lauds on Even Saturdays. Verses 1, 2, 3 & 10. Of the original hymn, verse 7 , "against wine and drunkenness" and verse 9 "against the misuse of goods" were omitted for the modern office. I guess these kinds of passions are either less dangerous to moderns(ha ha), or maybe they still are but the hymn was getting too long.

If anyone wants to work on the Latin subjunctive, let them sing (ha ha) this hymn.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I have had to take a break from blogging this past week. My plan was to finish up these two weeks of hymns in the diurno section of the Office of Readings, but things are getting too busy at home here, so these might have to get done piecemeal as I have time.

After these were finished, I was planning to go back and add information to each hymn or perhaps revise my translations in light of what I have learned since I last took a look at each one. My responsibilities as a husband and a dad come first, however, so we'll see if I can actually get to this.

In any case, thank you to all who read the blog and especially those who have added comments. It has been a fun summer project. (That makes it sound like it's over. I hope not!!!) Please stop back from time to time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

O Truth, O Charity, O Final Goal and Happiness!

Ætérna lux, divínitas,
Eternal light, divinity,
in unitáte Trínitas,
in the unity of Trinity,
te confitémur débiles,
feeble though we be, we confess Thee
te deprecámur súpplices.
Thee we entreat on bended knee.

Eternal Light, Divinity,
O Unity in Trinity,
Thy holy name Thy servants bless,
to Thee we pray, and Thee confess.

2. Summum Paréntem crédimus
We trust in the greatest Father
Natúmque Patris únicum,
and the only Son of the Father,
et caritátis vínculum
and in the bond of charity
qui iungit illos Spíritum.
which joins them with the Spirit.

2.We praise the Father, mighty One;
we praise the sole-begotten Son;
we praise the Holy Ghost above,
who joins Them in one bond of love.

3. O véritas, o cáritas,
O Truth, O Charity,
o finis et felícitas,
O final goal and happiness,
speráre fac et crédere,
cause us to hope and to beleive,
amáre fac et cónsequi.
cause us to love and to follow.

3. O Verity! O Charity!
O Ending and Felicity!
in Thee we hope, in Thee believe,
Thyself we love, to Thee we cleave.

4. Qui finis et exórdium
The end and the beginning
rerúmque fons es ómnium,
and source of all things Thou art,
tu solus es solácium,
Thou alone art consolation,
tu certa spes credéntium.
Thou art the sure hope of the faithful.

4. Thou First and Last, from whom there springs
the Fount of all created things,
Thou art the Life which moves the whole,
sure hope of each believing soul.

5. Qui cuncta solus éfficis
Thou alone accomplishest all things
cunctísque solus súfficis,
Thou alone art sufficient for all,
tu sola lux es ómnibus
Thou are the only light for all,
et præmium sperántibus.
and reward to those who hope in Thee.

5. Thou who alone the world hast made,
art still its one sufficing aid,
the only Light for gazing eyes,
and, unto them that hope, the Prize.

6. Christum rogámus et Patrem,
This we ask of Christ and the Father,
Christi Patrísque Spíritum;
and of the Spirit of Christ and the Father;
unum potens per ómnia,
one God mighty throughout the universe,
fove precántes, Trínitas. Amen.
favor those praying (to Thee), O Trinity.

6. O Father, Source of God the Word,
O Word with Him co-equal Lord,
O Spirit of like majesty,
O Triune God, all praise to Thee. Amen.
Metrical translation by R. F. Littledale (1833-1890)

This hymn's author and date of compostion is unknown, according to Lentini. I wonder how this site knows the hymn is "18th century?" (For all I know it could be.)

Composer Abbie Betinis has recently (2004) set this text (with the verses in a different order: 1, 6, 4, 3, 5, omitting 2 but adding alleluias throughout) for 4-part chorus. Abbie, like me, graduated from St. Olaf --um, yah, yah! She writes about the piece at her site:
Because the text hails the unity of the Trinity, the piece modulates between two
primary tonalities, which combine to form a third. In the end, all modalities
combine into a canon which spirals on, encircling and unifying all voice parts
in its course. The Alleluia refrain is my own addition to this traditional
Catholic text.
That site has a link to an mp3 and also a pdf of the sheet music. It also has an audio intro in which she explains that she wrote this piece after studying counterpoint in Paris "in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger with faculty from Juilliard and the Paris Conservatory." The music is quite angular, ofter frenetic, and does not seem to throw much light on the text. It is paired with an "Angele Dei" (Guardian Angel prayer) with no apparent connection other that they are both Catholic prayers in Latin. It seems like a summer graduate school project to me: it has a disjointed, "here's what I came up with"-feeling to it. She is obviously very talented, but I wonder if she knows (or cares) about the context of this hymn in the Liturgia Horarum?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Office of Readings Odd Week diurno

"Diurno" is from the instruction in the Liturgia Horarum which reads: Quando Officium lectionis dicitur diurno tempore. "When the Office of Readings is said during the daytime." For the last two weeks, I have been translating the hymns which were designated Quando Officium lectionis dicitur noctu vel summo mane. "When the Office of Readings is said during the night or early morning." Traditionally, Matins, the office which became the Office of Readings, was always said during the night or early morning. The Second Vatican Council changed this in recognition of the fact that clergy in the 20th century (and beyond) were not required to live the same schedule as monks, who often went to bed at 7pm and rose at 3am. The Council Fathers also wanted to encourage lay people to pray the Liturgy of the Hours as well.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that most of the hymns I have been translating the last two weeks have had a noctural theme or at least written with the idea that the singers of the hymn would be singing in the middle of the night Apparently the Council Fathers envisioned that the Office formerly known as Matins would be able to be said at any other hour of the day, hence another set of hymns is needed. Fr. Anselmo Lentini, the editor of the Liber Hymnarius put together fourteen more hymns (two weeks' worth) in addition to the fourteen I've just translated. I am anxious to look at the character of these hymns.

Here is the first:
Memorial of the Resurrection

Dies ætásque céteris
Over days and other ages
octáva splendet sánctior
the eighth shines out more sacred
in te quam, Iesu, cónsecras,
which, Jesus, Thou consecratest for Thyself,
primítiæ surgéntium.
the first fruits of those who rise(from the dead).

Tu tibi nostras ánimas
Thou to Thee our souls
nunc primo conresúscita;
now first raise together from the dead;
tibi consúrgant córpora
may our bodies rise up also to Thee
secúnda morte líbera.
free from the second death.

Tibíque mox in núbibus,
To Thee also soon in the clouds,
Christe, ferámur óbviam
O Christ, let us be borne on the way
tecum victúri pérpetim:
to be conquering with Thee continually:
tu vita, resurréctio.
Thou our life, our resurrection.

Cuius vidéntes fáciem,
Thou whose face we will be seeing,
configurémur glóriæ;
may we be shaped into that glory;
te cognoscámus sicut es,
may we come to know Thee as Thou art,
lux vera et suávitas.
true Light and Sweetness.

Regnum, cum Patri tráditos,
Thy kingdom, when you deliver us to the Father,
plenos septéno chrísmate,
filled with the seven-fold annointing,
in temet nos lætíficas,
fill us with the joy that is Thee Thyself,
consúmmet Sancta Trínitas. Amen.
may the Holy Trinity bring it (Thy kingdom) to perfection.

This hymn is by a certain Aron of the twelfth century, not well identified. The hymn "concludes a cycle, in which every day one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is celebrated." I wonder whether we will get to see any of the other hymns in the cycle.

It seems to me excellently suited to Sunday, with its resurrection theme. If you look at the noctu hymn for today (found here), you will see that it starts out calling Sunday the "first of all days," whereas this hymn refers to Sunday as the "eighth day." Fr. Z at wdtprs speaks eloquently both in blog entries and in podcasts about octaves being days when time itself is suspended to celebrate a major feast like the Resurrection, the birth of Christ and (until the Council) the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Seen in this light, there is no confusion: Sunday is both the first day and the eighth day.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Office of Readings Even Week noctu


The light that has no more darkness

Lux ætérna, lumen potens,
Light eternal, Lamp most brilliant,
dies indefíciens,
Day unfailing,
bellátor atræ noctis,
Warrior against the deadly night,
reparátor lúminis,
Renewer of the light,
destructórque tenebrárum,
and the Destroyer of shadows,
illustrátor méntium:
the One who enlightens minds:

2. Quo nascénte suscitámur,
When You come forth we are awakened,
quo vocánte súrgimus;
when You call, we rise;
faciénte quo beáti,
when You act we are blessed,
quo linquénte míseri;
when You depart we are wretched;
quo a morte liberáti,
by You we are freed from death,
quo sumus perlúcidi;
by You we are filled with light;

3. Mortis quo victóres facti,
By you we are made triumphant over death,
nocti atque sáeculi;
over night, and over this age;
ergo nobis, rex ætérne,
therefore to us, O King eternal,
lucem illam tríbue,
bestow that light,
quæ fuscátur nulla nocte,
which darkens no night,
solo gaudens lúmine.
buy only makes glad by light.

4. Honor Patri sit ac tibi
Sancto sit Spirítui,
Deo trino sed et uni,
paci, vitæ, lúmini,
nómini præ cunctis dulci
divinóque númini. Amen.

This hymn, which is the second part of yesterday's hymn is by Gottschalk of Orbais, who died in 869. The doxology (last verse) is the same as yesterday's hymn.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Office of Readings Even Week noctu


Christ came to grant us life and light

Galli cantu mediánte
The rooster's song cuts in half
noctis iam calíginem
now the darkness of the night
et profúndæ noctis atram
and of the black depths of the night
levánte formídine,
(the song) alleviating dread (of the night)
Deus alme,te rogámus
we ask Thee, nurturing God,
supplicésque póscimus.
and bring our supplications.

2. Vigil, potens, lux venísti
Watchful, powerful, Light Thou hast come
atque custos hóminum,
and protector of men,
dum tenérent simul cuncta
while all things simultaneously kept
médium siléntium,
the middle-of-night silence
rédderent necnon mortálem
nor did they render human
mórtui effígiem,
the likeness of a corpse,

3. Excitáres quo nos, Christe,
Whence may you awaken us, O Christ,
de somno malítiæ,
from a wicked sleep,
atque gratis liberáres
and may you freely liberate us
noctúrno de cárcere,
from the slavery of night
redderésque nobis lucem
and may you bring back the light to us
vitæ semper cómitem.
forever the companion of life.

4. Honor Patri sit ac tibi,
Honor be to the Father and to Thee
Sancto sit Spirítui,
and to the Holy Spirit
Deo trino sed et uni,
God three but also one,
paci, vitæ, lúmini,
who is peace, life, light,
nómini præ cunctis dulci
whose name is sweet above all
divinóque númini. Amen.
and who is Godhead divine.

This was a rush job. I will have to return to it again. Math League coach's conference today at Macalester college.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday Office of Readings Even Week noctu

I am bit late posting this today. My son wanted the computer last night at bedtime, and my wife needed the computer early this morning to take a test for her online class. She is studying to become a medical assistant.

Lentini's title: Rising from sleep to a new life in Christ

Ales diéi núntius
The winged messenger of the day
lucem propínquam praécinit:
proclaims the approaching light:
nos excitátor méntium
to us, the awakener of souls
iam Christus ad vitam vocat.
Christ now calls us to life

The winged herald of the day
proclaims the morn's approaching ray,
and Christ the Lord our soul excites,
and so to endless life invites.

2. «Auférte--clamat,--léctulos
"Take up," he cries, "your bed
aegros, sopóros, désides:
sick ones, sleepy ones, lazy ones:
castíque recti ac sóbrii
you who are chaste, upright and sober
vigiláte, iam sum próximus.»
watch, for I am very near."

2. "Take up thy bed," to each He cries,
"who sick, or wrapped in slumber lies:
and chaste, and just, and sober stand
and watch; my coming is at hand."

3. Ut, cum corúscis flátibus
That, when with quivering breath
auróra cælum spárserit,
the dawn strews the heavens,
omnes labóre exércitos
all who have labored with toil
confírmet ad spem lúminis.
it(the dawn) may strengthen by the hope of light.

3. - (see below to explain omission)

4. Iesum ciámus vócibus
With our voices we invoke Jesus by name
flentes, precántes, sóbrii;
weeping, imploring, though sober;
inténta supplicátio
intense prayer
dormíre cor mundum vetat.
forbids the pure heat to fall asleep.

4. With earnest cry, with tearful care,
call we the Lord to hear our prayer:
while supplication, pure and deep,
forbids each chastened heart to sleep.

5. Tu, Christe, somnum dísice,
Thou, O Christ, dispel our sleep,
tu rumpe noctis vincula,
break Thou the chains of night,
tu solve peccátum vetus
loosen Thou our chronic sin
novúmque lumen íngere.
and cast the fresh light upon us.

5. Do Thou, O Christ, our slumbers wake:
do Thou the chains of darkness break:
purge Thou our former sins away,
and in our souls new light display.

6. Sit, Christe, rex piíssime,
tibi Patrique glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.

6. All laud to God the Father be;
all praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
all glory as is ever meet,
to God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.

Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, d. 405. Metrical Translation by the great J. M. Neale.

These are verses chosen from the Cathemerinon, or The Daily Round, which is a collection of early Christian hymns. Two other hymns, Wednesday and Thursday Lauds for odd weeks are also taken from this work. (See the Thursday link for more about it.) Today's hymn contains the actual opening lines from the first of two Morning Hymns Prudentius wrote.

In the Roman Breviary, this hymn is used as the Lauds hymn for Tuesdays. Lentini says "it was observed that (the hymn) fits more the Office of Readings." I am guessing this is because of all the references to sleeping and waking. But like the other Lauds hymns, (and unlike the other Matins hymns)there seems to be more references to dawn. Indeed the opening lines of the hymn celebrate the ales, who is clearly the rooster, (symbol of the preacher of the gospel) whom the monks would not hear until way after Matins in finished.

Lentini also introduces verse 3, "a beautiful stanza" which was not traditionally included with this hymn in the past. It is taken from the same Prudentius work as the rest of the hymn. I agree, the images are beautiful, but I think verse 3 steers it once again back in the direction of a morning hymn rather than one to be sung by lamplight at 3 a.m.

In any case, this explains why J.M. Neale did not include this verse in his wonderful metrical translation. At the time he translated, this verse was still buried in Prudentius' work, not part of the hymn Ales diéi núntius.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday Office of Readings Even Week noctu


Lentini's title: With the night chant, we implore thanks also for the day

O sator rerum, reparátor ævi,
O founder of all things, renewer of time,
Christe, rex regum, metuénde censor,
Christ, King of kings, fearful magistrate,
tu preces nostras paritérque laudes
Thou our prayers and equally our praises
súscipe clemens.
receive with mercy.

2. Noctis en cursu tibi vota laudum
Lo, through the course of the night to Thee vows of praise
pángimus; præsta tibi sint ut apta,
we compose; grant that they may be suitable to Thee,
nosque concéntu réfove perénni,
and refresh us by our continual singing,
lúminis auctor.
Author of light.

3. Da dies nobis probitáte faustos
Grant to us in uprightness prosperous days
mortis ignáram tribuéndo vitam,
granting us a life ignorant of death,
semper ut nostros tua sit per actus Update: (Thanks again, Figulus)
That always unending glory may be thine
glória perpes.
through our actions.

4. Ure cor nostrum, pius ure lumbos
Burn our heart, in your love burn our loins
igne divíno vigilésque nos fac,
with fire divine and make us vigilant,
semper ardéntes mánibus lucérnas
that always, burning lamps in our hands
ut teneámus.
we may hold.

5. Æqua laus summum célebret Paréntem
Let equal praise glorify the highest Father
teque, Salvátor, pie rex, per ævum;
and Thou, Savior, Holy King, through all time;
Spíritus Sancti résonet per omnem
and let the glory of the Holy Spirit resound through
glória mundum. Amen.
all the universe.

Though the tenth century author is unknown, according to Lentini, this hymn "was very widespread in the middle ages, for the Feast of the Transfiguration, remembered in vs. 3, here omitted." These are verses 1, 2, 5 and 6 of the hymn, with a doxology for the last verse.

In verse 4, pius ure is a replacement for iecur atque. Again with the liver as the seat of feelings. Iecur atque lumbos: the liver and the loins. This is the second hymn I have encountered (the first being Saturday's Office of Reading noctu hymn (Odd week)) in which these two terms appear together, both times asking God to "burn" them with holy, cleansing fire. Yet Lentini, the modern editor, takes out iecur (liver) but leaves in lumbos (loins). I guess with Vatican II, there was an attempt to bring the details of the Church's teaching in line with modern medical science and psychology, a laudable intention in and of itself. Perhaps he reasoned, correctly, that we have no scientific evidence that the human liver is the "seat of feelings." (A surgeon, however gives a compelling description of handling a liver that might convince you otherwise.)

Linguists tell us many indigenous languages still today describe the liver as the seat of volitile emotions like anger or sadness. Alice Gaby of the Univ. of Melbourne describes some of the best examples(and perhaps why they don't always translate to English well):
A furious person is described in Kuuk Thaayorre as 'hot-livered'. The Papua New
Guinean language Mbula also uses the compound 'hot-liver' to describe someone
who's very angry. Similarly, in Turkmenistan, people describe making somebody
angry as 'burning their liver'...In Kambera, spoken on Sumba Island in
Indonesia, a pounding liver is a symptom of worry...In Kuuk Thaayorre, for
example, a brave person is strong-livered. Although this doesn't really
translate into English, we nevertheless have a negative association between the
liver and bravery, lexicalised in the antonym of bravery: 'lily-livered'.
What about the "loins" then? I think there might be more general agreement, if not scientific evidence, about the pelvic region being the location of sexual excitement, (despite what Dr. Oz might say to Oprah about the brain being the biggest sex organ).

Hence, Lentini's imperitive: lumbos can stay, but iecur has got to go. In any case, we are still asking God to burn our bodies and souls with his holy fire, because these urges and feelings and rages and passions that come over us all feel so strong and compelling, that it must take something as strong and painful as the fire of God to burn them out and cleanse them, so that our bodies and souls might be pure vessels once again.

My own experience of the Holy Spirit's fire is this: the fire is warm, but can be powerfully hot, to the point where it can be painful, but is always gentle, and it heals you to an incredible degree. It is spiritual in origin, but can have mental, emotional and even physical effects. You can ask for it, but it doesn't come "on demand." Occasionally it shows up even if you don't specifically ask for it. I don't seek out charismatic spiritual experiences as I once did, but I cannot deny the reality of the fire of God which still visits me now and again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Office of Readings Even Week noctu


Nocte surgéntes vigilémus omnes,
Rising by night, let us all keep watch
semper in psalmis meditémur atque
and ever devote our minds to psalmody
víribus totis Dómino canámus Update: Thanks Figulus!
and with all our strength let us sing to the Lord
dúlciter hymnos,
sweet hymns,

Now from the slumbers of the night arising,
chant we the holy psalmody of David,
hymns to our Master, with a voice concordant,
sweetly intoning.

Ut, pio regi páriter canéntes,
That singing to the loving King,
cum suis sanctis mereámur aulam
together with His Saints, we may merit
íngredi cæli, simul et beátam
to enter the royal court of heaven, and with them (at the same time)
dúcere vitam.
to lead a blessed life

So may our Monarch pitifully hear us,
that we may merit with His Saints to enter
mansions eternal, there withal possessing
joy beatific.

Præstet hoc nobis Déitas beáta
May He grant us this, the blessed Deity
Patris ac Nati, paritérque Sancti
of the Father, Son and likewise of the Holy
Spíritus, cuius résonat per omnem
Spirit, whose glory resounds throughout
glória mundum. Amen.
the whole world.

This be our portion, God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory, which through all creation
ever resoundeth. Amen.

Lentini's title: Let us keep vigil (now) in song to sing then in heaven

I pretty much just copied Britt's translation today(hymn number 7 in his book). I guess going to the beach with the kids made me feel all lazy and relaxed.

Not much to say about this Sapphic-and-Adonic-metered hymn. Britt says it's by Gregory the Great, while Lentini says "Author unknown, Carolingian Age, 8th-9th century." (I lean toward Lentini.) Britt says that Nocte Surgentes (today's hymn) is the "companion hymn" to Ecce iam noctis, the hymn for morning prayer on Even Sundays. My post for that hymn has more about the "Sapphic and Adonic" meter as well, so check it out if you missed that one.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Office of Readings Even Week noctu

Lentini's title: Keeping vigil, with lamps lit

Ipsum nunc nobis tempus est
The time is now for us that very hour
quo voce evangélica
when, as the gospel voice tells
ventúrus sponsus créditur,
the bridegroom was supposed to have come,
regni cæléstis cónditor
who is the founder of the heavenly kingdom.

Occúrrunt sanctæ vírgines
The holy virgins ran to meet
óbviam tunc advéntui,
the way toward the arrival (the Bridegroom) at that time ,
gestántes claras lámpadas,
bearing gleaming lanterns,
magno lætántes gáudio.
rejoicing with great joy.

Stultæ vero quæ rémanent
Yes, the foolish ones who stay behind
exstínctas habent lámpadas,
have extinguished lamps,
frustra pulsántes ianuam,
knocking in vain upon the door,
clausa iam regni régia.
for now the kingdom is closed tight.

Nunc vigilémus sóbrii
Now let us who are sober keep watch
gestántes mentes spléndidas,
bearing souls gleaming like lamps,
ut veniénti Dómino
that to the coming Lord
digni currámus óbviam.
we may worthily run the way towards (Him).

Dignos nos fac, rex óptime,
futúri regni glória,
ut mereámur láudibus
æternis te concínere. Amen.

This is part 2 of a longer hymn, part 1 of which formed yesterday's Office of Reading hymns. (Hence the doxology is the same as yesterday.) Remember that these hymns were historically sung at like three A.M. when the monks got up to read Scripture and Patristic readings.

This is significant for this hymn, which refers to the gospel story of the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish, waiting for the Bridegroom. Matthew 25:6 says "in the middle of the night" the cry goes up that the Bridegroom has arrived. So when Jesus returns, will it be "in the middle of the night?" (Well, literally, anytime is the middle of the night somewhere in the world.)

In any case let us carry around "souls gleaming like lamps."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Office of Readings Even Week noctu

Today's mp3 has the kind of imperfection that shows I'm human. I messed up a syllable on the second to last verse, so I recorded it over--slightly flat. If I hadn't said anything, non-musicians probably wouldn't have noticed.

I encourage you to learn the tune and sing along with me. Canamus in the title of this blog is 3rd person plural subjunctive, and means "let us sing."

Mediæ noctis tempus est;
It is the middle of the night;
prophética vox ádmonet
the prophetic voice admonishes
dicámus laudes ut Deo
that we should utter praises to God
Patri semper ac Fílio,
the Father and always to the Son

Sancto quoque Spirítui:
and also to the Holy Spirit:
perfécta enim Trínitas
for the complete Trinity
uniúsque substántiæ
and of one substance
laudánda nobis semper est.
we must always praise.

Terrórem tempus hoc habet,
This time holds terror,
quo, cum vastátor ángelus
for it is the hour when the destroyer angel
Ægýpto mortem íntulit,
brought death in Egypt,
delévit promogénita.
wiped out the first-borns.

Hæc iustis hora salus est,
This hour is salvation to the just,
quos tunc ibidem ángelus
to those at that time the angel
ausus puníre non erat,
did not dare to punish
signum formidans sánguinis.
dreading the sign of the blood.

Ægýptus flebat fórtiter
Egypt was weeping profusely
tantórum diro fúnere;
at so horrible a calamity of death;
solus gaudébat Israel
Israel alone was rejoicing
agni protéctus sánguine.
protected by the blood of the lamb.

Nos verus Israel sumus:
We are the true Israel:
lætámur in te, Dómine,
Let us rejoice in Thee, O Lord,
hostem spernéntes et malum,
and spurning the wicked enemy,
Christi defénsi sánguine.
defended by the blood of Christ.

Dignos nos fac, rex óptime,
Make us worthy, King Most High,
futúri regni glória,
of Thy future reign in glory,
ut mereámur láudibus
that we may deserve to sing together
æternis te concínere. Amen.
praises to Thee eternally.

This author of this 5th century hymn is unknown.

Lentini's "title" is Joy for us, saved by the blood of Christ
Lentini also says "This hymn is mentioned by S. Cesario [whoever that is]. According to the ancient tradition, for its Paschal flavor, it is appropriate for Sunday. Here, for brevity, are only the first 6 verses, and the 13th that can be considered a doxology." It turns out that we get verses 7-10 as part of tomorrow's hymn. Thus we sing it to the same tune.

Tune in tomorrow and canamus.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

No mp3 (yet) today. But if you wish to sing it, use the same tune as yesterday's hymn. Update: here is the mp3.

Summae Deus cleméntiae
God of greatest compassion
mundíque factor máchinae,
Maker of the whole scheme of the universe,
qui trinus almo númine
who, nurturing triune Deity
unúsque fírmas ómnia,
is also One, Thou establish all things,

Great God of boundless mercy hear;
Thou Ruler of this earthly sphere;
in substance one, in Persons three,
dread Trinity in Unity!

2. Nostros piis cum cánticis
Our holy songs with
fletus benígne súscipe,
tears graciously accept,
quo corde puro sórdibus
that with a heart clean of sin
te perfruámur lárgius.
we may enjoy Thee more abundantly.

2. Do Thou in love accept our lays
of mingled penitence and praise;
and set our hearts from error free,
more fully to rejoice in Thee.

3. Lumbos adúre cóngruis
Burn our loins with suitable (holy)
tu caritátis ígnibus,
flames of Thy charity
accíncti ut adsint pérpetim
that they may be continually girded
tuísque prompti advéntibus,
and ready for Thy appearance,

3. Our reins and hearts in pity heal,
and with Thy chastening fire anneal;
gird Thou our loins, each passion quell,
and every harmful lust expel.

4. Ut, quique horas nóctium
That, whatever hours of the night
nunc concinéndo rúmpimus,
we now interrupt with our singing
donis beátæ pátriæ
by gifts of the blessed fatherland
ditémur omnes áffatim.
may we all be amply enriched.

4. Now as our anthems, upward borne,
awake the silence of the morn,
enrich us with Thy gifts of grace,
from heaven, Thy blissful dwelling place!

5. Præsta, Pater piíssime,
Patríque compar Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito
regnans per omne saéculum. Amen.

5. Hear Thou our prayer, Almighty King;
hear Thou our praises, while we sing,
adoring with the heavenly host
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Author of this 7th century hymn is unknown. English translation by John David Chambers (1805-1893).

Lentini's "title": Purification of the spirit

At the beginning of verse 2, Lentini modified the original word pius to become piis. "...a concept that would recur with the following benigne; therefore I prefer the reading of the Carmelite Breviary (Breviarium Fratrum... de Monte Carmelo, 1938), which attatches the piis to the cánticis, with the sense modified." In other words, it is simpler to figure out what pius means if you change it to piis, and since there is a precedent for this reading printed in a well-known Breviary, let's change it!

Britt, working with pius, goes through much explanation of how you have to supply Parens or Deus. This is much more complicated to interpret.

Verse 4 has been much changed. I have two different former versions, one from Britt...

Lumbos, iecurque morbidum
Our reins and our depraved hearts
Flammis adure congruis,
burn Thou with becoming (holy) flames,
Accincti ut artus excubent
that our well-girded limbs may watch
Luxu remoto pessimo.
far-removed from baneful luxury.

...and one from Lentini:

Lumbos iecurque morbidum
Our diseased loins(seat of sexuality) and liver(seat of feelings)
adure igni congruo,
burn Thou with becoming fire,
accincti ut sint perpetim
that they(our loins) be girded continually
luxu remoto pessimo
removed from the worst excesses

Lentini says that these are "terms and concepts that today annoy or clash (urtano) in a liturgical hymn." Wow. Is he saying that this kind of earthy language is not fit for polite company? That hymns which make reference to reining in our sexual impulses with the help of the Holy Spirit's fire of holiness are too jarring for mixed congregations? Perhaps he is right. But I think I prefer the prayer of the older Latin hymn. I think Lentini's "solution" is very Scriptural (using images from Holy Scripture, especially the gospel passages about girding our loins) but omits the part about leaving behind luxu pessimo (the worst excesses.)

What do you think?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

Here is an mp3 of me singing this hymn. If you heard yesterday's mp3, you will recognize the tune: it's the same one. In fact, the Office of Readings hymn (for the night or early morning) has the same tune in the Liber Hynarius for the whole week, Sunday through Saturday. The Even Week features several different tunes though, so stayed tuned if you like variety!

Tu, Trinitátis Unitas,
Thou Unity in Trinity,
orbem poténter qui regis,
Thou who dost mightily rule the world,
atténde laudum cántica
harken to the canticle of praise,
quæ excubántes psállimus.
which we, risen from sleep, sing.

O Three in One, and One in Three,
Who rulest all things mightily,
bow down to hear the songs of praise
which, freed from bonds of sleep, we raise.

2. Nam léctulo consúrgimus
For we rise from our beds
noctis quiéto témpore,
in the quiet time of the night,
ut flagitémus vúlnerum
that we may ask, for our wounds
a te medélam ómnium.
ask of Thee a remedy for all of them.

2. While lingers yet the peace of night,
we rouse us from our slumbers light;
that might of instant prayer may win
The healing balm for wounds of sin.

3. Quo fraude quicquid daémonum
That whatever, by the deception of the evil spirits,
in nóctibus delíquimus,
we have failed in during the night,
abstérgat illud caélitus Update:
from heaven may blot it out
tuæ potéstas glóriæ.
by the might of Thy glory.
[Let the might of thy glory wipe it [whatever was our failure] away from heaven.]
Thanks, Figulus.

3. If, by the wiles of Satan caught,
this nighttime we have sinned in aught,
that sin Thy glorious power today,
from heaven descending, cleanse away.

[4. Ne corpus astet sórdidum,
Lest the body become defiled,
nec torpor instet córdium,
and torpor of heart threaten,
ne críminis contágio
and by the touch of sin
tepéscat ardor spíritus.
the fervor of the soul be chilled.

4. Let naught impure our bodies stain,
no laggard sloth our souls detain,
no taint of sin our spirits know,
to chill the fervor of their glow. ]

5. Te corde fido, quaésumus,
With trusting heart we ask Thee then,
reple tuo nos lúmine,
fill us with Thy light,
per quod diérum círculis
that in the cycle of days
nullis ruámus áctibus.
we may fail in none of our actions.

5. Wherefore, Redeemer, grant that we
fulfilled with Thine own light may be:
that, in our course. from day to day,
by no misdeed we fall away.

6. Præsta, Pater piíssime,
Patríque compar Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
regnans per omne saéculum.

6. Grant this, O Father ever One
with Christ, Thy sole-begotten Son,
and Holy Ghost, whom all adore,
reigning and blest forevermore.

Today I received a wonderful "loan" from a reader, bluejeepsiamese: three books which will add immensely to my understanding of these hymns. The most revealing of these is Te Decet Hymnus: L'Innario della "Liturgia Horarum" by Dom Anselmo Lentini himself, the presumed editor of the Liber Hymnarius.

Here are a few things I found out about today's hymn from Lentini:
1) Lentini includes a "title" or description of each hymn, much like the Liturgia Horarum does for each of the Psalms. Today's description reads "A Prayer for the Wounds of the Soul."
2) You may have noticed I have bracketed the 4th verse, which means it has been omitted in the modern Office. Lentini explains why he took it out: "The 4th verse has been omitted, again for brevity:" (He then quotes it in full, and adds), "which stresses, with the usual anxiety, the nocturnal miseries of the flesh."
3) Te corde fido, quaésumus in the 5th verse is his replacement for the original Ob hoc, Redemptor, quaesumus: (We therefore beseech Thee, O Redeemer). He explains: "This final prayer now only to Christ seems harmful to the organic unity of the hymn as a whole, directed to the Trinity; Hence the replacement inspired by Analecta hymnica, Vol 51, No 30: "Te puro corde quaesumus."

I have a few observations on these points.

1) I now love these little titles: they are tiny summaries to help me prepare for the meaning of the hymn. They used to annoy me ("Those aren't in the original text!"), but as I get older, I find I am grateful for any assistance to my slowing mind. The descriptions act as runway lights to help my understanding land in the right place so I don't go completely astray on the meaning of the text.
2) One of Fr. Z's pet peeves about ICEL translations of the proper prayers at Holy Mass is that the translations remove certain "outmoded" concepts like grace, sacrifice, our total dependence on God, etc. One might look at Fr. Lentini's omission of verse 4 and put it in that category, as if Lentini was saying, "Oh, we don't believe all that old stuff about keeping the flesh pure. Why should it be harder to remain pure at night than during the day? What's the big deal anyway? We all have our urges, God knows this, so relax and blah, blah, blah..."

Is it possible to give him the benefit of the doubt on this? Perhaps priests of his generation (he died in 1989) experienced a particularly harsh type of discipline or formation early on which over-emphasized avoiding the dangerous sins of the flesh, even to an unhealthy or unbalanced degree? I have heard that the aggiornamento for this generation often included a kind of catharsis when these kinds of teachings became more balanced, putting them in perspective, perhaps taking modern psychology more into account.

I hasten to add that I did not know the man. Also, I know that many poor, misguided souls took this "balancing" of emphasis as an excuse for pulling out all the stops, so to speak, and giving in to their every fleshly impulse. Somehow I believe that such a learned man as Lentini was not one of those low kind of people.

On the other hand, could Lentini possibly have known how immersed in sins of the flesh we would be today? Perhaps if he knew the torpor of the 21st century heart "touched by sin" and suffering such massive spiritual wounds caused by today's casual attitude toward sins of the flesh, he would put that verse back in, despite the fact that it make the hymn a tiny bit longer.

3) I personally have no problem with Lentini's scholarly replacement in the 5th verse. It's not like he just arbitrarily threw it in to fix some rhyme scheme or make it "sound nicer." He was actually trying to tighten up the focus of the hymn as a whole. "Didn't we start out this hymn addressing ourselves to Trinitatis Unitas? When did we focus our gaze on the 2nd person alone?" And if I understand the scholarly apparatus correctly, the replacement phrase was "inspired" by a similarly ancient hymn to this one. (Incidentally, this hymn was written by one of my favorites: "Author Unknown, 6th or 7th century.")

Thanks again, bluejeepsiamese. God reward you for making the effort to help me out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

I am attempting to include an mp3 of today's hymn which I sang into a cheap microphone (so don't expect great sound). UPDATE: I guess you can't see the link unless you use an RSS reader or something like that. Try clicking on this to hear the mp3 file.

Nox atra rerum cóntegit
Black night conceals
terræ colóres ómnium:
the colors of all things on earth
nos confiténtes póscimus
confessing Thee we ask
te, iuste iudex córdium,
just Judge of our hearts,

The dusky veil of night hath laid
the varied hues of earth in shade;
before Thee, righteous Judge of all,
we contrite in confession fall.

2. Ut áuferas piácula
that Thou take away our sins
sordésque mentis ábluas,
and wash away the stains of the soul,
donésque, Christe, grátiam
and grant us, O Christ, grace
ut arceántur crímina.
that sin may be kept away.

2. Take far away our load of sin,
Our soiléd minds make clean within
Thy sov'reign grace, O Chirst, impart,
From all offence to guard our heart.

3. Mens, ecce, torpet ímpia,
Behold, the wicked soul is numb
quam culpa mordet nóxia;
which noxius error (mortal sin) stings;
obscúra gestit tóllere
It wishes passionately to put away its darkness
et te, Redémptor, quaérere.
and to seek Thee, O Redeemer.

For lo! our mind is dull and cold,
Envenomed by sin's baneful hold:
Fain would it now the darkness flee,
And seek, Redeemer, unto Thee.

4. Repélle tu calíginem
Push back the gloomy darkness
intrínsecus quam máxime,
within to the maximum degree possible,
ut in beáto gáudeat
that it (the soul) may rejoice
se collocári lúmine.
to establish itself in blessed light.

Far from it drive the shades of night,
Its inmost darkness put to flight;
Till in the daylight of the Blest
It joys to find itself at rest.

5. Sit, Christe, rex piíssime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

5. Almighty Father, hear our cry,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord most High,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.

Again, Britt was a huge help. Verses 3 and 4 were really tough, and I'm not sure I agree completely with Britt. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

Rerum Creátor óptime,
Most noble Creator of all things
rectórque noster, réspice;
and our Ruler, look down on us;
nos a quiéte nóxia
from a sinful rest
mersos sopóre líbera.
free us who are immersed in sleep.

Who madest all and dost control,
Lord, with Thy touch divine,
cast out the slumbers of the soul,
the rest that is not Thine.

Te, sancte Christe, póscimus;
Thou, O Holy Christ, we ask;
ignósce tu crimínibus,
forgive Thou our offenses,
ad confiténdum súrgimus
we rise to confess
morásque noctis rúmpimus.
and we interrupt the lingering hours of the night.

Look down, Eternal Holiness,
and wash the sins away,
of those, who, rising to confess,
outstrip the lingering day.

Mentes manúsque tóllimus,
We raise our minds and hands,
Prophéta sicut nóctibus
by night as the Prophet (David)
nobis geréndum praécipit
commands us to do
Paulúsque gestis cénsuit.
and as Paul, by his deeds, sanctioned.

Our hearts and hands by night, O Lord,
we lift them in our need;
as holy Psalmists give the word,
and holy Paul the deed.

Vides malum quod géssimus;
Thou seest the evil we have done;
occúlta nostra pándimus,
we spread out our hidden (sins),
preces geméntes fúndimus;
groaning we pour out our prayers;
dimítte quod peccávimus.
forgive what we have done wrong.

Each sin to Thee of years gone by,
each hidden stain lies bare;
we shrink not from Thine awful eye,
but pray that Thou wouldst spare.

Sit, Christe rex piissime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

Grant this, O Father, Only Son
and Spirit, God of grace,
to whom all worship shall be done
in every time and place. Amen.
Ascribed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). Metrical translation by Cardinal Newman.

There is an article about this hymn in the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, written by Hugh Henry, which is mostly about variants in the text and what a French author (Pimont) has to say about which of the nine variants of the text he thinks are the Original Text. One wonders why this hymn in particular has an entry in that venerable old encyclopedia, but precious few other Matins hymns (or few other hymns at all) get their own article.

We also see Propheta referring to David making another appearance in this hymn, this time with Paulus who, according to Maureen , (commenting on Sunday's Matins hymn) is often just called "the Apostle." That particular phrase contains a gerundive (or is it a gerund? all I know is it has the form of a future passive participle) geréndum which caused me to look up the difference between the two. I remember seeing a movie on TV in which a crotchety old Latin master at some private school would always ask students, "Gerund or gerundive?" (I guess the movie was this one.) Anyways, after all that, I still tranlated geréndum simply "to do."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

Consors paterni luminis,
O Sharer in the Father's light
lux ipse lucis et dies,
Thyself Light of lights and the Day
noctem canendo rumpimus:
we interrupt the night with singing
assiste postulantibus.
attend to our praying.

O Light of light, O Dayspring bright,
coequal in Thy Father's light:
assist us, as with prayer and psalm
Thy servants break the nightly calm.

Aufer tenebras mentium,
Take away the darkness of our minds
fuga catervas daemonum,
drive away the swarm of evil spirits
expelle somnolentiam
expel our drowsiness
ne pigritantes obruat.
lest it bring ruin to us who hesitate continually.

All darkness from our minds dispel,
and turn to flight the hosts of Hell:
bid sleepfulness our eyelids fly,
lest overwhelmed in sloth we lie.

Sic, Christe, nobis omnibus
Thus, O Christ, to us all
indulgeas credentibus,
be lenient to your faithful
ut prosit exorantibus
that (it) may profit us who are pleading
quod praecinentes psallimus.
what we chant before Thee in song.

Jesu, Thy pardon, kind and free,
bestow on us who trust in Thee:
and us Thy praises we declare,
O with acceptance hear our prayer.

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Spiritu Paraclito
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.

O Father, that we ask be done,
through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
doth live and reign eternally.

Attributed to St. Ambrose 340-397. Translation by Joseph William Chadwick (1841-1882) and John David Chambers (1805-1893). Historically the concluding doxology "Praesta, Pater piissime" was used with this hymn and hence the above metrical translation's mis-match with the Latin.

Britt was a ton of help today. This hymn was in fact the Matins hymn for Tuesdays, so if you go to that link, just find hymn number 13 or look in the index for "Tuesday at Matins."

Pigritantes comes from pigror, pigrari, pigratus sum (hesitate, hang back), but it has been intensified by the addition of "-it" after the root. The "-it" apparently can also signify iteration, hence I have opted for "the continually hesitating." Britt just says "slothful." I guess that is a good definition of sloth: you just keep hesitating until inaction forces you into laziness, even if you started out determined not to be lazy. I guess the "hang back" meaning could also result in a translation something like "the continual non-starters."

I have experienced this often when trying to pray while sleepy. The prayer just pauses, and then pauses again, and then again for longer, and pretty soon I am not praying anymore. Which is fine if I'm trying to pray myself to sleep like I did last night, but terrible when I am trying to get up early to pray.