Saturday, February 25, 2017

“Farewell to the Alleluia”

This particular text is taken from The Canterbury Hymnal, edited by Gernot R. Wieland (Toronto Medieval Latin Texts)


Alleluia dulce carmen,
uox perhennis gaudii,
alleluia laus suauis
est choris crelestibus,
quam canunt dei manentes
in domo per saecula.

Alleluia leta mater,
conciuis Hierusalem,
alleluia uox tuorum
ciuium gaudentium;
exules nos flere cogunt
Babylonis flumina.

Alleluia non meremur
nunc perhenne psallere,
alleluia nos reatus
cogit intermittere;
tempus instat quo peracta
lugeamus crimina.

Unde laudando precamur
te, beata trinitas,
ut tuum nobis uidere
pascha des in ethere,
quo tibi leti canamus
alleluia perpetim.

Alleluia, sweet song, sound of eternal joy, the alleluia is sweet praise to heavenly choirs, which those who abide in the house of God sing throughout the ages. Alleluia, our joyful mother, fellow citizen of Jerusalem, alleluia, the cry of your rejoicing citizens, the rivers of Babylon force us exiles to weep. We are not worthy to sing alleluia  forever yet. Our sin compels us to interrupt our alleluia. It is the time when we should mourn the sins we have committed. Therefore we petition you with praise, O blessed Trinity, and that you may grant us to see your Easter in heaven, where we shall gladly sing alleluia to you forever. Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Memorial of St. Mary on Saturday: Officium Lectionis: corrected

Memorial of St. Mary on Saturday

Officium Lectionis: novus

O virgo mater, filia
tui beata Filii,
sublimis et humillima
præ creaturis omnibus.

Divini tu consilii
fixus ab ævo terminus,
tu decus et fastigium
naturæ nostræ maximum:

Quam sic prompsisti nobilem
ut summus eius conditor
in ipsa per te fieret
arte miranda conditus.

In utero virgineo
amor revixit igneus,
cuius calore germinant
flores in terra cælici.

Patri sit et Paraclito
tuoque Nato gloria,
qui veste te mirabili
circumdederunt gratiæ.

O Virgin Mother, blessed Daughter of your Son, high and humble beyond all creatures.

You are the completion of the divine plan fixed forever. You are the honor and highest peak of our nature.

What nobility you have brought forth  that our supreme Creator should be born through you, created in a wondrous way.

In the  virgin’s womb, fiery love formed him by whose heat heavenly flowers grow on earth.

 To the Father, and to the Paraclete, and to your Son be glory, who wonderfully surrounded you with grace.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CATHEDRÆ S. PETRI APOSTOLI Ad Officium lectionis: saec. VIII-IX

Iam, bone pastor, Petre, clemens áccipe
vota precántum, et peccáti víncula
resólve, tibi potestáte trádita,
qua cunctis cælum verbo claudis, áperis.

Sit Trinitáti sempitérna glória,
honor, potéstas atque iubilátio,
in unitáte, cui manet impérium
ex tunc et modo per ætérna sæcula. Amen.

Now, good shepherd, Peter, mercifully accept the intention of our prayers and loosen the chains of sin by the power handed over to you, through which with a word you close and open heaven for all. Glory be to the eternal Trinity, honor, power and praise in the Unity, whose authority abides  now and for eternal ages. Amen.

Notes on Adam of St. Victor: F.J.E. Raby

He appears to have been, like Abelard, a Breton by birth, and about 1130 he entered the Augustinian house of S. Victor, which William of Champeaux  had founded in 1108, when he retired from the noise of Paris, and for a time from the tumult of the schools. The abbey flourished and became famous. Before the middle of the century it numbered among its inmates two of the foremost spiritual leaders of the time, Hugh and Richard, who expounded a mystical philosophy midway between the rationalism of Abelard and the pure mysticism of Bernard of Clairvaux. Adam is the third of a trio of famous men.     He drew his inspiration from the same spiritual fountain, and set forth in verse what Hugh and Richard expounded in prose.

It is told of Adam that he loved to haunt the crypt of the abbey church, where there was a chapel dedicated to the Virgin. It was here in the gloom and quiet, before the image of Mary, that he meditated on the Sequences which were to be composed in her honor. There the inspiration of the Salve mater salvatoris came upon him, and he celebrated the mother of God with all the ardent allegory of the Song of S0ngs.

5.         porta clausa, fons hortorum,
cella custos unguentorum,
cella pigmentaria ;

6.         cinnamoni calamum
mirram, tus et balsamum
superas fragrantia.

9.         .... tu convallis humilis,
terra non arabilis,
quae fructurn-parturiit ;

10.       flos campi, convallium
singulare lilium,
Christus, ex te prodiit.

Then, as he reached the crowning strophe of praise and adoration,

salve, mater pietatis
et totius trinitatis
nobile triclinium,

verbi tamen incarnati
speciali maiestati
praeparans hospitium,

the Blessed Virgin appeared before him, and bowed her head in salutation and gratitude.

It is probable that Adam made profound scholastic studies, and he might well have followed in the footsteps of Hugh and Richard. He chose rather to use his talent for the adornment of the liturgy, but the theological foundation of his proses is a conspicuous feature. His life must have passed quietly enough at S. Victor in following the offices and composing the Sequences which were sung at the great festivals. He died towards the end of the century, and was buried in the cloister near the doorway of the chapter house. His epitaph, which affirms the vanity of human life, and may be in part his own
composition, is as follows:

haeres peccati, natura filius irae,
exsiliique reus nascitur omnis homo.
unde superbit homo, cuius conceptio culpa,
nasci poena, labor vita, necesse mori ?
vana salus hominis, vanus decor, omnia vana;
inter vana, nihil vanius est homine.
dum magis alludunt praesentis gaudia vitae,
praeterit, imo fugit; non fugit, imo perit.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Origin of the Sequence: F.J.E. Raby

In the Mass, according to the Roman rite, there are interposed between the Epistle and the Gospel, two chants, the Gradual and the Alleluia coupled with the verse of a psalm. ln the singing of the Alleluia, it was customary to prolong the initial a, in what was known as a Jubilus, a lengthy melody,the singing of which required considerable musical skill. This Jubilus or prolongation of the last syllable followed the melody of the Alleluia, and is properly called a Sequentia or a Sequence. Sequentia was therefore originally a musical term and could be used indifferently with melodia, neuma, or jubilus to describe the melody on the final a of the Alleluia. This melody was itself divided into parts (clausulae) each of which could be termed a Sequentia. The practice grew up, apparently in the eighth century, of adapting a text or Prose to some of these divisions, but the Prose or Sequence proper began when a text was, for the first time, set to the whole of the melody. The correct description of such a production would be Sequentia cum Prosa (i.e. a melody with a text). In France the term Prose was employed, while in Germany the less correct and later designation of Sequence was used to describe the whole composition.

. . . it will be clear that in considering the origin of the Sequence, it is necessary to begin with the Alleluia-Jubilus. 

The original Sequences, therefore, were texts or proses fixed to an existing melody. . . . 

So the original structure of the text was bound to follow the structure of the melody, and the text was, in fact, a piece of  unrhythmical prose, written as a rule, in corresponding double strophes of equal length.

While Proses continued to be adapted to already existing melodies, it was not possible for any advance to be made in the direction of artistic form. But, when once the text and melody were composed together, the Prose tended to become the determinant part of the production, and the development of a rhythmical form based on accent easily followed. To rhythm was added assonance and then rime. Delivered from the bondage imposed by a pre-existing melody, the Prose was free to assume a regular poetical form, with a rhythmical structure and, ultimately a fully developed system of rime.

The history of the Sequence in the twelfth century centers round the name of Adam of St. Victor, to whom tradition assigns the glory of having brought to perfection this most characteristic achievement of medieval poetry.

To be continued.