02 June 2011

Quando Christus ascenderat

Here is my translation of the Benedicamus hymn for Ascension: "Quando Christus ascenderat," as corrected by M. Herman Bonnus and included in Lossius "Psalmodia." While still a hymn of the Ascension, it links the Ascension and Session to Pentecost more explicitly than other hymns that focus on the Ascension itself. The text is based on the late medieval pia cantio of the same name, and uses the same melody. Here is the Pia Cantiones version of the melody.

The last line in the original is sung thus (note the length of 4th note):

WHEN Christ ascended into heav’n,
To sit upon the Father’s right,
Then, as He promised, man was giv’n
The Holy Ghost from realms of light,
A sound was heard like rushing wind,
And tongues of fire were burning bright.

2. His sudden coming there discerned,
Then none from blessed fear was spared,
A Comforter upon them burned,
And pow’r to all th’ Apostles shared,
Who then in myriad tongues unlearned
The mighty acts of God declared.

3. The sterile Church He fertile made
With fruitful gifts of many a kind,
Their conscience He with grace allayed,
Consoled their heart, illumed their mind,
From Satan’s wiles their life he stayed,
From evil saved, from world so blind.

4. Now to the Spirit’s Father high
In heaven let our pray’r ascend
That in the faith of Christ His Son
He keep us ever without end.
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Bless we the Lord, bless we the Lord.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2011.

1. Quando Christus ascenderat,
sedens ad Patris dexteram,
quem antea promiserat,
e coelo mittit Spiritum,
auditur tanquam sonitus,
linguae videntur igneae. [< linguis loquuntur omnium]

2. Hic subito adveniens,
Metum incussit omnibus,
Et consolator pavidos
Apostolorum animos,
Qui statim linguis variis
Docent Dei magnalia.

3. Foecundat hic Ecclesiam
Diversis donis sterilem,
consolatur, illuminat,
et servat conscientias,
Adversus mundum, Satanam,
Et dirae moris impetum.

4. Patrem oramus igitur
Coelestem, sanctus Spiritus,
Ut nos in fide Filii
Pura semper retineat,
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Benedicamus Domino.

1 comment:

Walter said...

Congratulations are in order Matt for another great interpretation that gives the hymn in English its own charm.
Jam astra Christus Ascenderat is the apparent original and to me the major point that needs correction is its obvious anti-Semitisms, but I think to the Reformers, it was the stress on the 'mystical' number of seven and its multiples that was irritating.

Whatever the reasons, Bonn created a new hymn here and your translation would suit the season in any current hymnal.