14 March 2015

Signum crucis mirabile

Here is my translation of "Signum crucis mirabile" (sometimes called "Lignum crucis…"), the ancient office hymn for the Invention of the Holy Cross (May 3). Exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14) is given in some of the early Lutheran books, but is not nearly so usual. The text is that of M. Ludecus’ Vesperale (f. 217a), but the melody in the form found in Lossius.

THE WONDROUS token of the Cross
That once o’ershone all worldly dross—
On which the sinless Christ in thrall
Was hung, the Ransom of us all:

2. Here is the Tree more highly grown
Than cedars of far Lebanon.
No bitter fruit it knows to bear,
But the rewards of life most fair.

3. We ask, kind Monarch, Christ, of Thee
That by the token of this Tree
Thou wouldst deny us not one hour
The shelter of Thy godly pow’r.

4. That we, with lips’ har-mo-nious joined,
And hearts most rev’-rent-ly inclined,
May render ev’ry hour to Thee
The praises owed Thy majesty.

5. All laud to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee,
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

Signum crucis mirabile
Olim per orbem renitens [=praenitens]
In qua pependit innocens
Christus redemptor omnium.

2. Haec arbor est sublimior
Cedris quas habet Libanus,
Quae poma nescit noxia
Sed ferre vitae praemia.

3. Tu Christe rex piissime,
Hujus crucis signaculo
Horarum momentis omnibus
Munire nos non abnuas.

4. Ut ore tibi consono
Et corde devotissimo
Possimus omni tempore
Laudes referre debitas.

5. Deo Patri sit gloria
Ejusque soli Filio
Cum Spiritu Paracleto
Et nunc et in perpetuum. Amen.

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