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.