16 April 2012

Hodiernae festum lucis

Here is my translation of the Sequence hymn for the Feast of the Lance and Arms of Christ. While not expressly met in Reformation cantionals, the regional German feast was historically celebrated as a vespertine mass on the Friday after Quasi modo geniti, paying due honor to the Lord's passion recently commemorated in Holy Week and recognizing the instruments of the Lord's Passion by which He built His church. The tune is from another Sequence, Hodiernae Lux Diei. Here it is with harmony from the New Office Hymn-Book, except that one stanza of the music is missing (one might simply repeat a section, such as the 3rd, since stanzas 3 and 4 have a similar voice; or else re-introduce the 2nd between the 3rd and 4th). A common tune that may be substituted is Johann König's "Alles ist an Gottes Segen."

This incomplete sample in the Aachen Proser suggests a more florid version of the melody.

ON THIS FEAST of solemn splendor,
Praise to Christ our Life we render,
For the Lance of vict’ry blest,
Echoing strains of jubilation
At the spear that for salvation
Pierced our Prince and Savior’s breast.

2. (All mankind must make confession:
Thee we thrust with our transgression,
Bound in sin and mortal strife):
Worship Him who wrought redemption
And from punishment, exemption:
Winning man the cure of life.

3. Hail, triumphant Iron, driven
Through the breast of Life, that, riven,
Shows to heav’n the open Door.
Thou made wholesome in the flowing:
Wound us, blessed Spear, bestowing
Love for Him, thy harm who bore.

4. Blessed Nails, by which were budded
Flow’rets red that sweetly flooded
Jesus’ every piercèd limb:
Let our hearts with love be spilling
By your sting our flesh be stilling,
Fastening our faith on Him.

5. Naz’reth-born! we hail Thee, Jesus,
Thou wast wounded to release us
From sin’s mortal penalty,
Turn to us the Father’s favor,
That with all the blest for ever
We with glory crown’d may be.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2011–2012.

1. Hodiernae festum lucis
Et sollemne vitae Ducis
pro victrici lancea:
decantemus laudes ei,
quem transfixit vice rei
haec salutis framea.

2. Omnis utriusque sexus
Te stringebat culpae nexus
et mortis angustia:
Psalle illi qui resolvit
culpam, poenam pro te solvit,
vitae dans remedia.

3. Ave ferrum triumphale,
Intrans pectus tu vitale
Coeli pandis ostia:
Fecundata tu cruore
Felix hasta nos amore
per te fixi saucia.

4. Florens cruor quem suderunt,
artus Christi quos foderunt
clavorum fixoria:
Fusa per te ac rigata
et per clavos solidata
Nostra sint praecordia.

5. Salve Iesu Nazarene,
tu pro nobis mortis poenae
Affectus iniuria:
Placa patrem maiestatis,
ut in aevum cum beatis
nos coronet gloria.

1 comment:

Walter said...

Thanks for this, Matt. Wackernagel's volume 1,no.286 is my source for the Latin too & Kehrein of course. But thanks so much for your great English translation. You make it work so well !