19 April 2014

Rex sanctorum angelorum, totum mundum adjuva

Here is my translation, adaptation, and correction of a metrical Litany dating from around the 10th century. It may have begun in St. Gall, but spread quickly throughout the bishoprics of Germany before being approved for church use by Pope Nicholas III. The original is a sort of abbreviated (or sevenfold) litany which also included in some places a variable stanza to a certain local patron saint (such as St. Gall). This Litany was associated with the seven penitential psalms, after which it was sung. Since this usually happened on a vigil, and the Vigils of Easter and Pentecost included the blessing of the font, stanzas 6, 7, and 8 are sung on such occasions where baptizands are present. For lack of a German processional at hand, I borrow the melody from a Sarum processional (courtesy of Dr. William Renwick).

King of all the holy angels,
 Grant Thine aid to all the world.

1. Advocate before the Father,
Seed of Virgin Mother born,
Angel-circled Mediator,
Represent us eve and morn!

2. King of th’ apostolic orders,
Set us for Thy kingdom blest!
Monarch of the holy martyrs
Save us by Thy blood exprest!

3. Lord of those who here confess Thee,
Of Thy bride, Thy virgin pure,
Grant us grace on earth to bless Thee,
Be Thou our Deliverer.

4. Here behold Thy congregation,
Who on earth Thy help beseech,
Purge us of all foul transgression,
To us Thine assistance reach!

5. Christ, Thou Shepherd good and gracious,
This Thy people’s pray’rs receive,
Maker Thou of Adam ancient
And His seed by mother Eve.

6. Work within this water-basin
Christ, Thy sacred mystery,
As when at Thy crucifixion
Blood with water flowed from Thee.

7. Send, we pray, Thy Holy Spirit,
Counselor and Helper true,
On these souls, who by Thy merit
In the Font are born anew.

8. Now this heav’nly birth beholding,
Holy mother church, rejoice!
Now her growing brood enfolding
Let her sing with gladsome voice!

9. Be with us, O Spirit holy,
With the Son and Father one,
That we may adore Thee only
While eternal ages run.

Repeat Verse.

Text & Translation Copyright © 2014 Matthew Carver.

V. Rex sanctorum angelorum, totum mundum adjuva.

1. Ora primum tu pro nobis 
Virgo mater germinis, 
Et ministri patris summi, 
Ordines angelici.

2. Supplicate Christo regi 
Goetus apostolici, 
Supplicetque pcrmagnorum 
Sanguis fusus martyrum.

3. Implorate confessores, 
Consonaeque virgines, 
Quod donetur magnae nobis 
Tempus indulgentiae.

4. Omnes sancti atque justi, 
Vos precamur cernui, 
Ut purgetur crimen omne 
Vestro sublevamine.  [sub juvamine]

5. Hujus, Christe, rector alme, 
Plebis vota suscipe, 
Qui plasmasti protoplastum 
Et genus gignentium.

6. Fac in terra fontis hujus 
Sacratum mysterium, 
Qui profluxit cum cruore 
Sacro Christi corpore.

7. Mitte sanctum nunc amborum 
Spiritum paraclitum 
In hanc plebem, quam recentem 
Föns baptismi parturit.

8. Ut laetetur mater sancla 
Tota nunc ecclesia: 
Ex profectu renasccntis 
Tantae multiturtinis.

9. Praesta patris atque nati 
Compar sancte spiritus, 
Ut te solum semper omni 
Diligamus tempore.

V. Rex sanctorum angelorum. totum mundum adjuva.

05 April 2014

Rex Israel tuus tibi

Here is my translation of G. Fabricius' hymn, "Rex Israel tuus tibi" from his book of poetry, De Historia et Meditatione Christi Mortis (1553). It appears to have been taken into a few hymnals, but it is unclear which melody it was given. I provide the Gregorian melody most often associated with the Passiontide hymn "Rex Christe factor omnium."

THY KING, O Isr’el, comes to thee,
In manner meek, and willingly,
His entry now with hands applaud,
With trumpet hail, with anthems laud!

2. He comes not fierce with forces steeled
Or barb’rous troops to take the field,
But, poor-appareled, makes His track
Upon a lowly donkey’s back.

3. No joy of fleeting wealth He brings,
But bounties of eternal things;
What doubt can then thy heart convince
To dread so mild and rich a Prince?

4. For Him let us our garments strew,
For Him the greening branches hew,
For Him a hymn of glory sound,—
In strife our fairest Fav’rite crowned!

5. Here doth the gentle Pauper go
The dev’lish fiend to overthrow,—
The righteous King, for our release
To raise a vict’ry-rod* of peace.

6. By word and hand He claims for heav’n
The kingdom by His Father giv’n,
And in His temple on the rod,
Disdained by rulers, reigns as God.

7. Our glad Hosanna let us sing
To David’s Son, the gracious King,
O may His kingdom ever blest
For ages flourish without rest! Amen.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

*Trop(h)aea, i.e., tree-shaped monuments formerly used to mark a military victory; here, the cross.

1. Rex, Israel, tuus tibi
mansuetus et volens adest,
Plausus manu, cantus tuba
et ore laudes persona.

2. Non saevus armato grege,
cohortibusve barbaris,
Tergo sed insidens, venit
inops, aselli pauperis.

3. Nec fert caduca gaudia,
vitae sed aeternae bona,
Neve [=Neu] horreas mitissimum,
sic vult venire, principem.

4. Sternamus huic velamina,
ramos secemus arborum,
Promamus hymnum gloriae
pulcherrimo_in certamine.

5. Pauper superbum subjugat
clemens atrocem daemonem,
Rex justus et salvans suos
trophaea pacis erigit.

6. Regnum_a parente traditum
verbo manuque vindicat
Contemnitur potentibus,
sed regnat in templo deus.

7. Osanna laetum Davidis
canamus almo filio,
Cuius per omne saeculum
regnum beatum floreat. [Amen.]

25 March 2014

Quod Esaias dixerat

Here is my translation of the Reformation-period Latin hymn “Quod Esaias dixerat” (G. Fabricius) set by Lucas Lossius to the same melody as the other Annunciation hymn there, “Fit porta Christi,” by St. Ambrose. Unlike Ambrose’s text, Fabricius’s is explicitly of the Annunciation. Lossius (fol. 204b) includes in Latin a preface to the hymn as follows:
“There are four parts: first, a proposition or assertion of the conceiving of the Son of God according to the prophecy of Isaiah 7, in the womb of the virgin Mary, through the working of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1); second, an exposition of the manner of the conception, by the envoy or message of the Angel Gabriel; third, a description of the person of the Messiah, which is that He is not only true Man but also true God, and that His reign is spiritual and eternal; fourth, a prayer that Christ would conjoin and preserve the Church which He has redeemed by His Passion and death, that He together with the Father and Holy Spirit may be rightly acknowledged, adored, and invoked by us.”
The melody follows as provideds by Lossius.

FULFILLED is St. Esaias’ word,
The virgin pure conceives her Lord,
The Seed is sown that, being bred,
Shall crush at last the dragon’s head.

2. Glad tidings doth God’s Angel tell:
Salvation gained, Emmanuel,
The Hope of all by human birth;
So sing ye praises, all the earth!

3. He shall be great, His name shall be
Son of the Most High Majesty;
His Father’s kingdom He shall tend,
And of it there shall be no end.

4. O Christ, that kingdom Thou hast built
By many_a wound and blood outspilt
Let not the foe this latter day
Confound and leave in disarray;

5. So be Thou honored, God the Son,
With Father and with Spirit one,
To whom alone belongs the praise
And laud of all, for endless days. Amen.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Quod Esaïas dixerat,
Intacta virgo concipit,
Ut Semen illud conterens
Caput Draconis prodeat.

2. Laetum salutis Angelus
Profert adeptae nuncium, [nuntium]
Promissa Spes, Emanuel,
Nascetur orbi, psallite.

3. Hic magnus est, et Filius
Altissimi vocabitur,
Patrisque regnum termino
Carens in aevum, proferet.

4. Hoc Christe regnum plurimo
Quod astruisti vulnere,
Ne dissipari hoc ultimo
Sinas ab hoste, tempore.

5. Ut tu colaris cum tuo
Patre_atque sancto Spiritu,
Cui cultus et laus, omnibus
Debetur uni seculis. Amen.

Fit porta Christi pervia

Here is my translation of the hymn “Fit porta Christi pervia” (Ambrose, 4th c.) according to the short cento found in Lossius (1579). It had been inserted in Sedulius poem beginning “A solis ortus cardine” but is affirmed as Ambrose’s work by ancient and medieval testimony. The melody is that provided by Lossius.

THE GATE of Christ, all full of grace,
In ways unseen hath yielded place;
The King passed through what shut shall be
As it hath been, eternally.

2. The Offspring of the Light divine
Emerged from out the Virgin’s shrine:—
The Church’s Spouse and Savior He,
Who made all things by His decree.

3. He of his mother Crown and Joy,
Of all believers Hope most high,
Who by death’s bitter cup hath paid
And for our sins atonement made.

4. To God the Father ever one
With God the sole-begotten Son
And God the Spirit, glory be
Both now and for eternity.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Fit porta Christi pervia,
referta plena gratia,
Transitque Rex et permanet
Clausa_ut fuit per secula.

2. Genus superni luminis [="Numinis"],
Processit aula virginis,
Sponsus, redemptor, conditor,
Suae gigas Ecclesiae.

3. Honor matris et gaudium
Immensa_et spes credentium, [corr. from "Immensa spes et…"]
Per atra mortis pocula,
Resolvit nostra crimina.

4. Deo Patri sit gloria,
Eiusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nunc et in perpetuum.

15 March 2014

Agni paschalis esu

Here is my translation of Notker’s Sequence for Easter Tuesday, “Agni paschalis esu potuque dignas,” literally “[worthy] Of the Paschal Lamb to eat and drink.” Syntactically the opening phrase extends into the first double verse, delaying the subject and predicate, and so complicates understanding for modern English ears. I have restructured it slightly so that the Lamb still comes first and makes a clear title. The text and melody appear in early and late editions of Lossius. The theme is clearly the reception of the Lord’s Supper by the newly baptized with spiritual allusions to the Passover and the Exodus.

According to Daniel, the melody (“Graeca”) is not the original to “Agni paschalis,” but has been adapted. MSS with other melodies are not immediately available. Proof of this  is a definite irregularity in verses 2c. and 3a, which may have formed a double verse together in the original form. In the present version, 2c. melodically forms a transition between 2a-b. and 3a-c. Interestingly, the couplet 4a-b presents a melodic progression in the first half-lines, from sol-fa to sol-la.

NOW THAT the Lamb hath readied
The Paschal banquet,

2a. Let all Christian souls by ways sincere
Prove themselves worthy thereof to partake;
2b. For their great High Priest, as Victim dear
Hath offered Himself to God for all their sake.
2c. Now on the posts of their brows appear
Seals of royal red
By the sacred blood He shed,
A shade from the wrath that o’er Egypt brake;

3a. Now all the rival’s forces
Are swallowed up by the Red Sea tide.
3b. So let their loins all be girded well to stride,
3c. And for the serpents their feet be fortified.

4a. While wayfaring,
Let their hand be bearing
Spirit-staves alway,
Dogs to keep at bay;
4b. That they in fashion
Foll’wing Jesus’ Passion,
Share His Easter too,
Who the grave o’erthrew.

5a. Lo, earth awoken,
Florid with Christ doth rise,
5b. A gracious token
Showing to faithful eyes,

6a. O’er death, what vict’ry prize
Is with Christ bespoken!

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Agni paschalis esu
potuque dignas,

2a. Moribus synceris praebeant
omnes se Christianae animae,
2b. Pro quibus se Deo hostias
obtulit ipse summus Pontifex.
2c. Quarum frons in postis est modum,
eius illita
sacrosancto cruore
et tuta a clade canopica,

3a. Qua[rum] crudeles hostes
in mari Rubro sunt obruti.
3b. Renes constringant ad pudicitiam.
3c. Pedes tutentur adversus viperas.

4a. Baculosque
spiritales contra
canes jugiter
manu bajulent.
4b. Ut pascha Jesu
mereantur sequi,
quo de barathro,
victor rediit.

5a. En redivivus
mundus ornatibus
5b. Christo consurgens
fideles admonet,

6. Post mortem melius
cum eo victuros.