01 April 2013

Vita sanctorum, decus angelorum (Easter)

Here is my translation of the anonymous hymn "Vita sanctorum, decus angelorum" as found in Bezelius' Magdeburg cathedral cantionale (1613). It is appointed for Vespers on Easter (and Easter week). The title is similar to another hymn for Michaelmas, so I borrow the initial wording of the more popular translation for this one, so as to imitate the allusion in English. The melody in Bezelius is the same as that of the Michaelmas hymn.

LIFE AND fair glory of the holy angels,
 Life of the faithful, who as one adore Thee:
Christ, who didst conquer death and hell forever
By Thine own dying:

2.  Over Thy servants, joyful in Thy triumph,
Keep Thy protection in this peaceful season,
In which Thy holy feast is celebrated
Throughout creation.

3.  That Easter morning, Thou, from hell arising,
Didst as the Victor free a host unnumbered,
And, thence ascending, brought’st Thine earthen body
O’er starry ethers.

4.  Now in the highest, Thou art Lord all-glorious,
Greatly exalted God above the heavens,
From whence returning, Thou on men shalt render
Judgment eternal.

5.  Lift up, we pray Thee, our poor hearts to heaven
Where Thou art seated at the Father’s right hand,
Nor cast us downward in the Resurrection
To endless torment.

6.  Hear us, O Jesus, merciful Redeemer,
With God the Father and the Holy Spirit
One God in glory, majesty, and powèr,
Reigning forever. Amen.

Translation © 2013 Matthew Carver.

1. Vita sanctorum decus angelorum,
vita cunctorum pariter piorum,
Christe qui mortis moriens ministrum

2. Tu, tuo laetos famulos trophaeo,
nunc in his serva placidis diebus,
in quibus sanctum celebratur omnem
Pascha per orbem.

3. Pascha, quo victor rediens ab imo,
atque cum multis aliis resurgens,
ipse susceptam super alta carnem
astra levasti.

4. Nunc in excelsis Dominus refulgens,
et supra caelos Deus elevatus,
inde venturus homo judicatus,
denuo judex.

5. Corda tu sursum modo nostra tolle,
quo Patri dexter resides in alto:
ne resurgentes facias in ima

6. Hoc Pater tecum, simul et sacratus
praestet amborum, pie Christus, Flatus,
cum quibus regnas Deus unus omni
jugiter aevo.

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