23 March 2015

Ave stilla maris / Ave stella maris

Here is my translation, or rather extreme reworking, of a translation of the hymn Ave stella maris, which Caswall did—“Hail Bright Star of Ocean,” to fit the Lutheran version. In the 16th century, a Lutheran scholar, Camerarius, amended it to harmonize with the Lutheran understanding of Mary in the Book of Concord. Note that the term “ever virgin” was left intact. While the curious change from “star” to “drop” appears here (other Lutherans left star alone) to be an attempt to put Mary in a more humble frame, it is actually a return to the original term used by Jerome, who, translating the name Miriam in the Old Testament, rendered it (in his experienced judgment) “stilla maris.” By distortion of dialect or mind, this eventually became “stella maris,” which to be sure inspires many more flights of poetic devotion than does “stilla maris.” I read that, generally speaking, a “stilla” is more substantial than a “guttula,” though what caused Jerome to choose one over the other I don’t know. The text and melody are those of Ludecus (no one outside of Mark Brandenburg appears to have preserved or attempted to preserve this hymn), where it is appointed for the Annunciation at Vespers, but might reasonably extended to other feasts of the holy Virgin.

HAIL, O drop of ocean!
Jesus’ blessed portal!
Ever Virgin Mother
Of the Lord immortal.

2 Hail, who meekly hearing
Gabriel’s word supernal,
Didst conceive the Giver
Of the Life eternal.

3. God’s beloved Virgin,
Full of faith and favor:
In thy womb as promised
Is the Seed and Savior.

4. Christ, Thou Offspring blessed
Of thy Mother lowly,
Cleanse us of our errors,
Make us chaste and holy.

5. Chains of sin, and blindness
By Thy light be riven
Ills in mercy banished,
Blessings freely given!

6. Show us life unstainèd,
Keep us safely faring
Till we see the Father
In His praises sharing.

7. Father, Son, and Spirit,
Three in One confessing,
Give we equal glory,
Equal praise, and blessing.  Amen.

Reworking 2016 Matthew Carver, 

Ave maris stilla,
Dei mater alma
Atque semper virgo,
Felix Christi porta.

2. Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Concipis aeternae
Largitorem vitae.

3. O Deo dilecta
Virgo fide plena,
Ventris tui germen
Est promissum semen.

4. O beata Proles*  (id est, Jesu Christe)
Inter omnes mitis
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

5. Vincla solve reis,
Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pellens,
Bona cuncta reddens.

6. Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Patrem
Semper collaetemur.

7. Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus,
Spiritui sancto
Honor trinus unus. Amen.

22 March 2015

Fit porta Christi pervia.

Here is an adapted translation of a hymn (“Fit porta Christi pervia”) much used for Annunciation in former days among Lutheran churches in Germany. It is composed, as may be plain, of certain stanzas from the Christmas hymn “A solis ortu(s) cardine” [From East to West, from Shore to Shore, or, From Lands That See the Sun Arise]. Apparently the latter hymn had been reconstructed based on the supposition that it had been an alphabetical poem, and stanzas were taken from the present hymn (attributed to Ambrose, 4th c.) to that end. Here I have restored the hymn, and taken the existing translation of W. J. Copeland (from yet another translation of “A solis,” “From Where the Rising Sun Goes Forth”) and adapted it slightly according to the Latin of Lossius (1579), for use as an independent hymn. The melody, very sweet, is from the same source, and used for a number of other hymns in the sanctoral section.

CHRIST’S beauteous portal, full of grace,
Is hallowed for the King to pass;
The King doth pass: the folded door
Abideth folded as before.

2. Son of the Father’s might divine,
Proceeding form His Virgin shrine,
Maker, Redeemer, Bridegroom, He
The Giant of His Church shall be.

3. Of Mother-maid the light and joy,
Of all believers hope most high,
He the dark cup of death shall drain
Ere He unloose our guilty chain.

4. 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.

4.* O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore. Amen.

* Alternate stanza for use on other feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary.

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,
Per atra mortis pocula,
Resolvit nostra crimina.

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

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.

07 March 2015

Pauli diem, Pauli fidem

Here is my translation of Georg Fabricius' hymn for the Conversion of St. Paul. The text is that found in Ludecus' Vesperale (1589), but the form of the mode-8 melody (which has distinct variants), probably to be identified with Stäblein 505, is reproduced as it appears in Bonnus' Hymni et sequentiae (1559).

NOW BOTH the feast and faith of Paul
Let us with grateful hearts extol:
Christ of a rival did embrace
A friend and vessel of His grace.

2. Saul to Damascus flies in wrath
To bind the saints of Christ for death,
And wondrously God’s saint is made
Who to destroy the saints assayed.

3. A glorious light puts forth his ray,
Prostrate the haughty Saul to lay;
He hears the voice of God, is spared,
And finds his former crimes repaired.

4. Of Him whom he with threats and chains
Had persecuted, sight he gains,
And knowing Him, enlightens men
By sermon, pray’r, and faithful pen.

5. None bore of pains a heavier load
All for the glory of His God:
Nor in the world hath any name

Of mortal men a greater fame.

6. O Christ, so make Thy foes this day
Again to see Thy wholesome ray,
That they may love with heart sincere
The holy names Thou holdest dear.

7. Lest ever men, impert’nent, seek
Their wars upon Thy will to wreak,
Call down from heav’n and win for Thee
True friends from ev’ry enemy.

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

Translation sts. 1–7 © 2015 Matthew Carver.

1. Pauli diem, Pauli fidem
Grato colamus pectore:
Ex hoste Christus factus est
Amicus et vas gratiae.

2. Ferus Damascon advolat,
Christum fatentes ut liget:
Res mira, sanctus fit Dei,
Sanctos minatus perdere.

3. Lux clara, ritu fulguris
Sternit superbum: sed Dei
Vocem_audienti parcitur,
Vetusque culpa_ignoscitur.

4. Quem persecutus antea
Plagis, minis et carcere,
Hunc novit et palam docet
Oratione_et litteris.

5. Nec plura quisquam pro Dei
Tormenta passus gloria:
Nec nomen ullum notius
Cunctis per orbem gentibus.

6. O Christe nunc hostes quoque
Lucem tuos fac cernere,
Ut sancta, quae tu diligis
Ament et ipsi nomina.

7. Nemo tuis unquam_audeat
Pugnare jussis pertinax:
Tibi vocanti caelitus
Hostes, amici pareant.

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

03 March 2015

Ich armer Mensch gar nichtes bin

Here is my translation of the poem or hymn “Ich armer Mensch gar nichtes bin” (J. Gigas, 1564), or “…doch gar nichts bin,” a versified supplication of one who is near death. It is based on a Latin elegaic Precatio by Philip Melanchthon dating to 1555  (See Wackernagel 1:457). The six couplets which comprise the original form of the lyric are first seen at the end of an exposition by Gigas of the hymn, “Ein Kindelein so löbelich” which was published in 1564. The tune normally appointed for it in hymnals is “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht” or “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott.”

I, WRETCHED man, am naught, I own.  
    God’s Son remains my gain alone,
My hope—that He true Man was made,
    My ransom—’twas His blood that paid. 

2. O God the Father, govern me  
    With Thy good Spirit constantly; 
Allow Thy Son, my Life and Stay,
    To dwell within my heart alway. 

3. Oh, when the final hour I see,  
    Take me, Lord Jesus Christ, to Thee! 
For Thine I am, and mine Thou art—
    To meet Thee soon how longs my heart!

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

Ich armer Mensch gar nichtes bin, 
Gotts Sohn allein ist mein Gewinn.
Daß er Mensch wordn, das ist mein Trost;
Er hat mich durch sein Blut erlöst.
O Gott Vater, regier du mich
Mit deinem Geiste stetiglich.
Laß deinen Sohn, mein Trost und Lebn,
Allzeit in meinem Herzen schwebn;
Und wenn die Stund verhanden ist,
Nimm mich zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ:
Denn ich bin dein, und du bist mein,
Wie gern wollt ich bald bei dir sein.

Nil sum, nulla miser novi solatia, massam
Humanam nisi quod tu quoque, Christe, geris.

Tu me sustenta fragilem, tu Christe guberna.
Fac ut sim massae surculus ipse tuae.

Hoc mirum foedus semper mens cogitet, uno
Hoc est, ne dubita, foedere parta salus.