29 April 2015

Jesu Christe, auctor vitae

Here is my translation of “Jesu Christe, auctor vitae,” a very minimally altered version of the hymn for Vespers on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene dating to the 10th c., probably from Germany (see Daniels/Blume, Die Hymnen, 1:197). The appointed mode-IV melody in early Lutheran books is shared with “Urbs beata Jerusalem” [Blessed City, Heav’nly Salem].

JESUS Christ, of life Creator,
Who hast cleansèd in Thy blood
Adam’s sin, our fallen nature,
And hast Thy salvation good—
Fruit of grief—upon Thy creature
Mary Magdalene bestowed.

2. She, Thy pearl most dearly rated,
Star most graced with clarity,
Now by Thee hath been translated
To Thy palace heavenly,
And a pattern clear created
Of Thy boundless clemency.

3. Therefore, of Thy grace unfeigning
Let Thy favor now be known,
Grant release from sins remaining,
And Thy joys of life, O Son,
With the Father living, reigning,
And the Spirit, ever one.  Amen.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

LATIN [brackets from Blume 1:196]
Jesu Christe, auctor vitae
Qui in tuo sanguine
Peccatum lavisti Adae,
Mariae Magdalenae
tribuisti salutarem
fructum penitentiae.

2. Praetiosam Margaritam
Stellamque clarissimam
Eam locasti in arce
Tu caelestis curiae [Uranice…]
Ut esset evidens tuae
Exemplum clementiae.

3. Tu placatus ergo nobis [Interventu…]
Semper sis propitius [Sis nobis…]
Et nostra dele peccata [Ac…]
Et da vitae gaudia;
Qui regnas cum Deo Patre
Et Spiritu compare. Amen.


Walter said...

Such a close interpretation ! A great Dolmetscher ! [?] mazeltov.
My own notes tell me Stäbelein has a melody for this, but I haven't checked it yet. I have only Mone's vol 3 with which to check the words and I see your alterations in [square brackets] in Mone.
Another superior poetic work !

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Thanks again, Walter. I fixed a couple things which I had not resolved when I scheduled this post. Peccatum Adae is closer now; I had inadvertently left that line undone (in an earlier form of the hymn I had not attempted to rhyme the odd lines, but suddenly the resolution appeared before my eyes). The brackets show the pre-reformation form, so it is interesting how closely they align.

Walter said...

And I would just repeat that you translate into English those great Latin lines so well. It allows people who have no idea how wonderful those ancient hymns really were.