19 April 2014

Rex sanctorum angelorum, totum mundum adjuva

Here is my translation, adaptation, and correction of a metrical Litany dating from around the 10th century. It may have begun in St. Gall, but spread quickly throughout the bishoprics of Germany before being approved for church use by Pope Nicholas III. The original is a sort of abbreviated (or sevenfold) litany which also included in some places a variable stanza to a certain local patron saint (such as St. Gall). This Litany was associated with the seven penitential psalms, after which it was sung. Since this usually happened on a vigil, and the Vigils of Easter and Pentecost included the blessing of the font, stanzas 6, 7, and 8 are sung on such occasions where baptizands are present. For lack of a German processional at hand, I borrow the melody from a Sarum processional (courtesy of Dr. William Renwick).

King of all the holy angels,
 Grant Thine aid to all the world.

1. Advocate before the Father,
Seed of Virgin Mother born,
Angel-circled Mediator,
Represent us eve and morn!

2. King of th’ apostolic orders,
Set us for Thy kingdom blest!
Monarch of the holy martyrs
Save us by Thy blood exprest!

3. Lord of those who here confess Thee,
Of Thy bride, Thy virgin pure,
Grant us grace on earth to bless Thee,
Be Thou our Deliverer.

4. Here behold Thy congregation,
Who on earth Thy help beseech,
Purge us of all foul transgression,
To us Thine assistance reach!

5. Christ, Thou Shepherd good and gracious,
This Thy people’s pray’rs receive,
Maker Thou of Adam ancient
And His seed by mother Eve.

6. Work within this water-basin
Christ, Thy sacred mystery,
As when at Thy crucifixion
Blood with water flowed from Thee.

7. Send, we pray, Thy Holy Spirit,
Counselor and Helper true,
On these souls, who by Thy merit
In the Font are born anew.

8. Now this heav’nly birth beholding,
Holy mother church, rejoice!
Now her growing brood enfolding
Let her sing with gladsome voice!

9. Be with us, O Spirit holy,
With the Son and Father one,
That we may adore Thee only
While eternal ages run.

Repeat Verse.

Text & Translation Copyright © 2014 Matthew Carver.

V. Rex sanctorum angelorum, totum mundum adjuva.

1. Ora primum tu pro nobis 
Virgo mater germinis, 
Et ministri patris summi, 
Ordines angelici.

2. Supplicate Christo regi 
Goetus apostolici, 
Supplicetque pcrmagnorum 
Sanguis fusus martyrum.

3. Implorate confessores, 
Consonaeque virgines, 
Quod donetur magnae nobis 
Tempus indulgentiae.

4. Omnes sancti atque justi, 
Vos precamur cernui, 
Ut purgetur crimen omne 
Vestro sublevamine.  [sub juvamine]

5. Hujus, Christe, rector alme, 
Plebis vota suscipe, 
Qui plasmasti protoplastum 
Et genus gignentium.

6. Fac in terra fontis hujus 
Sacratum mysterium, 
Qui profluxit cum cruore 
Sacro Christi corpore.

7. Mitte sanctum nunc amborum 
Spiritum paraclitum 
In hanc plebem, quam recentem 
Föns baptismi parturit.

8. Ut laetetur mater sancla 
Tota nunc ecclesia: 
Ex profectu renasccntis 
Tantae multiturtinis.

9. Praesta patris atque nati 
Compar sancte spiritus, 
Ut te solum semper omni 
Diligamus tempore.

V. Rex sanctorum angelorum. totum mundum adjuva.

1 comment:

Rev. Dr. Benjamin T. G. Mayes said...

Stanzas 5-9 are the best, in my opinion. Stanzas 1-4 were originally invocations of the saints, so I'd say you did well to change those.