Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Vespers Even Week

Horis peráctis úndecim
Having completed eleven hours Thanks for the correction, mrjdempsey
ruit dies in vésperum;
the day rushes on to evening;
solvámus omnes débitum
let us all pay back a debt
mentis libénter cánticum.
of the mind willingly in song.

Labor diúrnus tránsiit
Our daily labor has passed
quo, Christe, nos condúxeras;
for which, O Christ, you had employed us;
da iam colónis víneæ
so now grant to the farmer of the vine
promíssa dona glóriæ.
the promised gifts of glory.

Mercéde quo nunc ádvocas,
Now you call for the pay
quos ad futúrum múneras,
which you present towards the future,
nos in labóre ádiuva
Aid us in our labor
et post labórem récrea.
and restore us after our work.

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

The Liber Hymnarius is silent on the identity of the author of this hymn. Therefore we can probably guessed it, Father Lentini of blessed memory, the hymnist of Monte Cassino. UPDATE: According to suburbanbanshee at Aliens in This World, this is a Mozarbic hymn by an anonymous writer. Not only that, suburbanbanshee did a singable translation! It's quite amazing. I am amazed at people who can do that.

I like the imagery of us as workers in the vineyard, all receiving the same pay no matter when we started work, as Jesus told in the gospel story.


Anonymous said...

undecim = 11
duodecim = 12
So, "Eleven hours having been completed," is the literal translation. In the Roman system, the time between sunrise and sunset was divided into twelve equal parts called "horae." The eleventh hour was the last hour of daylight before sunset and the beginning of night.

Maureen said...

Ooh, ooh! It's an anonymous Mozarabic Rite hymn!

(Search engines -- gotta love 'em.)

Geometricus said...

Thank you, mrjdempsey! I am a math teacher and I should have picked up on that number.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog! I've just discovered it tonight!

Do you have Anselmo Lentini's book: TE DECET HYMNUS: L'Innario della "Liturgia Horarum" ? It was published by Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis in 1984 but is now sadly out of print.

In it, Dom Anselmo gives the authorship and date of every hymn and also a list of all the breviaries (OP, OCarm, OPraem, Sarum, etc) the particular hymn was used in and what changes he made to particular lines (and usually why).

It was a great sadness that when I went to Monte Cassino in the summer of 1985, Dom Anselmo was already not well enough to have visitors. One of the younger monks showed us around the beautiful Abbey Church, etc., and Mass was lovely, but I had so hoped to at least offer him my thanks and respect.

What a great service you are providing with this blog.

Oh, you probably know about Fr. Martin O'Keefe, SJ's compilation EXSULTEMUS: Rejoicing With God in the Hymns of the Roman Breviary

Maureen said...

I think doing all that music work is pretty amazing, even before the raising six kids. So we're more than even. :)

The trick to writing singable translations is to pretend that each line of the song is _your_ poem or song idea. Then all you have to do is write down the song the way you'd write it. :)

Geometricus said...

You got to visit Monte Cassino! I'm sorry you didn't get to visit with Lentini. On my trip to Italy I only saw Monte Cassino from the bus ("there it is") on the way to Pompeii.

No I have not seen either of these books. I guess a trip to the Seminary library may be in order!

maureen: Thanks for the advice on singable translations. I've only tried it once of twice with stuff for my choir. Maybe it's not as impossible for me as I think it is.

Anonymous said...

You are welcome to borrow the Lentini book and make a copy of it (I presume the Vatican wouldn't mind since it is so long out of print and not available on any website bookstores I've seen) - with the work you are doing you simply MUST have a copy of this. It would simplify your research enormously!

Geometricus said...

Wow, that's very generous of you, bluejeepsiamese. I would love to take it for a spin to Kinko's and make a copy. Email me at benjamin.blackhawk *AT* and we can talk.