25 March 2014

Quod Esaias dixerat

Here is my translation of the Reformation-period Latin hymn “Quod Esaias dixerat” (G. Fabricius) set by Lucas Lossius to the same melody as the other Annunciation hymn there, “Fit porta Christi,” by St. Rhabanus Maurus. Unlike Rhabanus’ text, which, appointed for Compline on the Annunciation, focuses on the mystery of the virgin birth, Fabricius’s new hymn is explicitly of the Annunciation. Lossius (fol. 204b) includes in Latin a preface to the hymn as follows:
“There are four parts: first, a proposition or assertion of the conceiving of the Son of God according to the prophecy of Isaiah 7, in the womb of the virgin Mary, through the working of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1); second, an exposition of the manner of the conception, by the envoy or message of the Angel Gabriel; third, a description of the person of the Messiah, which is that He is not only true Man but also true God, and that His reign is spiritual and eternal; fourth, a prayer that Christ would conjoin and preserve the Church which He has redeemed by His Passion and death, that He together with the Father and Holy Spirit may be rightly acknowledged, adored, and invoked by us.”
The melody follows as provideds by Lossius.

FULFILLED is St. Esaias’ word,
The virgin pure conceives her Lord,
The Seed is sown that, being bred,
Shall crush at last the dragon’s head.

2. Glad tidings doth God’s Angel tell:
Salvation gained, Emmanuel,
The Hope of all by human birth;
So sing ye praises, all the earth!

3. He shall be great, His name shall be
Son of the Most High Majesty;
His Father’s kingdom He shall tend,
And of it there shall be no end.

4. O Christ, that kingdom Thou hast built
By many_a wound and blood outspilt
Let not the foe this latter day
Confound and leave in disarray;

5. So be Thou honored, God the Son,
With Father and with Spirit one,
To whom alone belongs the praise
And laud of all, for endless days. Amen.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Quod Esaïas dixerat,
Intacta virgo concipit,
Ut Semen illud conterens
Caput Draconis prodeat.

2. Laetum salutis Angelus
Profert adeptae nuncium, [nuntium]
Promissa Spes, Emanuel,
Nascetur orbi, psallite.

3. Hic magnus est, et Filius
Altissimi vocabitur,
Patrisque regnum termino
Carens in aevum, proferet.

4. Hoc Christe regnum plurimo
Quod astruisti vulnere,
Ne dissipari hoc ultimo
Sinas ab hoste, tempore.

5. Ut tu colaris cum tuo
Patre_atque sancto Spiritu,
Cui cultus et laus, omnibus
Debetur uni seculis. Amen.

Fit porta Christi pervia

Here is my translation of the hymn “Fit porta Christi pervia” (Ambrose, 4th c.) according to the short cento found in Lossius (1579). It had been inserted in Sedulius poem beginning “A solis ortus cardine” but is affirmed as Ambrose’s work by ancient and medieval testimony. The melody is that provided by Lossius.

THE GATE of Christ, all full of grace,
In ways unseen hath yielded place;
The King passed through what shut shall be
As it hath been, eternally.

2. The Offspring of the Light divine
Emerged from out the Virgin’s shrine:—
The Church’s Spouse and Savior He,
Who made all things by His decree.

3. He of his mother Crown and Joy,
Of all believers Hope most high,
Who by death’s bitter cup hath paid
And for our sins atonement made.

4. To God the Father ever one
With God the sole-begotten Son
And God the Spirit, glory be
Both now and for eternity.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Fit porta Christi pervia,
referta plena gratia,
Transitque Rex et permanet
Clausa_ut fuit per secula.

2. Genus superni luminis [="Numinis"],
Processit aula virginis,
Sponsus, redemptor, conditor,
Suae gigas Ecclesiae.

3. Honor matris et gaudium
Immensa_et spes credentium, [corr. from "Immensa spes et…"]
Per atra mortis pocula,
Resolvit nostra crimina.

4. Deo Patri sit gloria,
Eiusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nunc et in perpetuum.

15 March 2014

Agni paschalis esu

Here is my translation of Notker’s Sequence for Easter Tuesday, “Agni paschalis esu potuque dignas,” literally “[worthy] Of the Paschal Lamb to eat and drink.” Syntactically the opening phrase extends into the first double verse, delaying the subject and predicate, and so complicates understanding for modern English ears. I have restructured it slightly so that the Lamb still comes first and makes a clear title. The text and melody appear in early and late editions of Lossius. The theme is clearly the reception of the Lord’s Supper by the newly baptized with spiritual allusions to the Passover and the Exodus.

According to Daniel, the melody (“Graeca”) is not the original to “Agni paschalis,” but has been adapted. MSS with other melodies are not immediately available. Proof of this  is a definite irregularity in verses 2c. and 3a, which may have formed a double verse together in the original form. In the present version, 2c. melodically forms a transition between 2a-b. and 3a-c. Interestingly, the couplet 4a-b presents a melodic progression in the first half-lines, from sol-fa to sol-la.

NOW THAT the Lamb hath readied
The Paschal banquet,

2a. Let all Christian souls by ways sincere
Prove themselves worthy thereof to partake;
2b. For their great High Priest, as Victim dear
Hath offered Himself to God for all their sake.
2c. Now on the posts of their brows appear
Seals of royal red
By the sacred blood He shed,
A shade from the wrath that o’er Egypt brake;

3a. Now all the rival’s forces
Are swallowed up by the Red Sea tide.
3b. So let their loins all be girded well to stride,
3c. And for the serpents their feet be fortified.

4a. While wayfaring,
Let their hand be bearing
Spirit-staves alway,
Dogs to keep at bay;
4b. That they in fashion
Foll’wing Jesus’ Passion,
Share His Easter too,
Who the grave o’erthrew.

5a. Lo, earth awoken,
Florid with Christ doth rise,
5b. A gracious token
Showing to faithful eyes,

6a. O’er death, what vict’ry prize
Is with Christ bespoken!

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Agni paschalis esu
potuque dignas,

2a. Moribus synceris praebeant
omnes se Christianae animae,
2b. Pro quibus se Deo hostias
obtulit ipse summus Pontifex.
2c. Quarum frons in postis est modum,
eius illita
sacrosancto cruore
et tuta a clade canopica,

3a. Qua[rum] crudeles hostes
in mari Rubro sunt obruti.
3b. Renes constringant ad pudicitiam.
3c. Pedes tutentur adversus viperas.

4a. Baculosque
spiritales contra
canes jugiter
manu bajulent.
4b. Ut pascha Jesu
mereantur sequi,
quo de barathro,
victor rediit.

5a. En redivivus
mundus ornatibus
5b. Christo consurgens
fideles admonet,

6. Post mortem melius
cum eo victuros.

11 March 2014

Magno salutis gaudio

Here is my translation of the ancient Palm Sunday processional hymn, “Magno salutis gaudio,” also known as “Magnum salutis gaudium” after one of the variants. The hymn comes to us from Gregory the Great, and so predates the current Palmarum processional, “Gloria laus et honor” of Theodulph, by about two centuries. Lossius (1579, fol. 65 verso) appoints this hymn for 1st Vespers of Palm Sunday in a cento of seven stanzas. A variety of centos appear in ancient uses, usually with a refrain or special antiphons. Rubrics in Lossius refer to the tune for “Deus Creator omnium” or “Christe qui lux es et dies.” I include another melody found in a Cistercian hymnal from the late 16th century.

LET age to age with great delight
Acclaim salvation’s cheering sight,
Since Jesus our Redeemer hath
Raised up the fainting world from death.

2. Six days before the Paschal feast
Nigh Bethany His journey ceased,
Where He with love, now three days o’er
Did Lazarus to life restore.

3. There Mary took of spikenard dear
The pound untainted, without peer,
Embalmed her Master’s blessèd feet
Bedewing them with teardrops sweet.

4. Then Jesus, highest Judge of all
Upon a colt, an ass’s foal,
Was pleased to sit, and thusly passed
To proud Jerusalem at last.

5. O marvelous that tender love,
O meekness rare of God above,
That He who made creation wide
On ass’s colt should deign to ride!

6. From tender palm the gath’ring throng
The new-cut branches bore along,
And crowding came into the way
To meet the King of endless day.

7. Praise, honor, and dominion be
To God the only Trinity:
To Father, Son and Spirit, One 

While everlasting ages run.

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver; sts. 2–6, based on W.J. Copeland.

W.J. COPELAND (complete hymn):
Let age to age Hosannas sing, 

Glad shout of health and praise,
Now Jesus comes, Salvation's King,

Th' expiring world to raise.

Six days the Paschal night before
At Bethany He arriv'd,
Where, in His love, now three days o'er
He Lazarus reviv'd.

There Mary took of spikenard sweet
The precious pound and good,
Etnbalm'd her Master's Blessed Feet,
And with her tears bedew'd.

Then Jesus, Judge of Heaven Supreme,
On ass's colt He sate,
And on to proud Jerusalem
Advanc'd in solemn state.

O tender love how marvellous,
More wondrous meekness yet!
That earth's Creator deigneth thus
On ass's colt to sit.

'Twas He the Seer's clear spirit eyed,
And thrilling voice foretold,
When "Daughter, rise and shout" he cried,
"Shout, Sion, and behold!"

"Thy King doth come, yon lowly One,
"Fear not, Behold the sign,
 "On foal of ass He rideth on,
"Meek, patient, and benign."

From tender palm the gathering throng
The new-cut branches bring,
With olives green they haste along
To meet th' Immortal King;

Before, behind, in concourse run,
And in the Spirit's might,
"Hosanna" cry, "to David's Son
Hosanna in the height."

Some strip them of their garments gay
To deck the royal road,
Some with bright flowers bestrew the way
As less unmeet for God.

At His approach with thrill intense
The trembling city rang;
But Judah's golden innocence
His worthiest praises sang.

O let us thus run forth to greet
Th’ Almighty Judge and King,
And bearing palms of glory meet
With childlike spirit sing.

All honour, might, and sovranty 

To God Triune in Heaven,
To Father, Son and Spirit be 

Eternal glory given.

LATIN (Cento from Lossius):
Magno salutis gaudio
Laetetur omne seculum,
JESUS redemptor omnium
Sanavit orbem languidum.

2. Sex ante Paschae ferias,
Advenit in Bethaniam,
Ubi pie post triduum
Resuscitavit Lazarum.

3. Nardi Maria pistici
Sumpsit libram mox optimi.
Unxit beatos Domini
Pedes, rigando lacrymis.

4. Post haec jugalis asinae,
JESUS supernus arbiter,
Pullo sedebat , inclytam
Pergebat Hierosolymam.

5. O quam stupenda pietas,
Mira Dei clementia,
Sessor aselli fieri,
Dignatus autor seculi.

6. Ramos virentes sumpserat,
Palma recisos tenera,
Turba processit obviam,
Regi perenni plurima.

7. Honor, decus, imperium,
Sit Trinitati unicae,
Patri, Nato, Paracleto,
Per infinita secula, Amen.

01 March 2014

Exultandi et laetandi tempus est

Here is my translation of the Easter Benedicamus trope “Exultandi et laetandi” (or more often “Exultemus et laetemur”), as given in H. Bonnus, Hymni et Sequentiae (1559), where it is appointed actually to be sung during Communion, perhaps because of the similarity to the paschal Communion which alludes to the same text. Briefest examination of the text shows that it is originally a Benedicamus hymn sung in place of or adjacent to the Benedicamus of the Mass (“Benedicamus Domino.” R. “Deo gratias.”), since it contains or refers to these words in the final verses. The melody here presented by Bonnus differs somewhat from the comparatively reduced Vatican edition (Liber Usualis pp. 1931 ff., where it begins with our verse 2: "Exsultemus et laetemur hodie"). It follows the Benedicamus tone (which is to say, deriving from Kyrie fons bonitatis for festivals) in mode III, but also the alternate tone in mode V, which in the Liber Usu. is termed "according to more common usage." Thus it combines both melodies, unifying them by transposing the ending back up to mode III.

the time for joy and gladness, for now Christ,
Our passover Lamb, for us is sacrificed.
  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is ris’n again!

2. Let us all rejoice this day, this day be glad,
For this day a day of gladness shall be had,
  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is ris’n again!

3. To the sepulchre the women early came,
Where they heard the angel answer and exclaim:
  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is ris’n again!

4. “Why seek ye the living here among the dead?”
He is risen as unto the Twelve He said.”
  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is ris’n again!

5. Therefore at the end of this festivity,
LET US BLESS THE LORD, His servants now set free.
  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is ris’n again!

6. Since He hath our liberty to us restored,
  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is ris’n again!

Translation © 2014 Matthew Carver.

1. Exultandi et laetandi tempus est,
Pascha nostrum immolatus agnus est.
  Alleluia, Resurrexit Dominus.

2. Exultemus et laetemur hodie
Dies iste, dies est laeticiae. | Alleluia. Res.

3. Ad sepulchrum mulieres veniunt,
Responsum ab Angelo recipiunt. | Alleluia. Res.

4. In sepulchro quem dolentes queritis,
Surrexit sicut praedixit discipulis. | Alleluia. Res.

5. In hoc ergo jubilaei termino,
Servus liber benedicat Domino. | Alleluia. Res.

6. Cum sit ergo restituta libertas,
Omnes Deo referamus gratias. | Alleluia. Res.