Thursday, March 30, 2017

Holy Week: Ad Laudes matutinas: Fortunatus: notanda


En acétum, fel, arúndo, (1)
sputa, clavi, láncea;
mite corpus perforátur,
sanguis, unda prófluit; (2)
terra, pontus, astra, mundus (3)
quo lavántur flúmine!

Crux fidélis, inter omnes (4)
arbor una nóbilis!
Nulla talem silva profert (5)
flore, fronde, gérmine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo
dulce pondus sústinens!

Flecte ramos, arbor alta, (6)
tensa laxa víscera,
et rigor lentéscat ille
quem dedit natívitas,
ut supérni membra regis
miti tendas stípite.

Sola digna tu fuísti
ferre sæcli prétium, (7)
atque portum præparáre (8)
nauta mundo náufrago, (9)
quem sacer cruor perúnxit
fusus Agni córpore.

Æqua Patri Filióque,
ínclito Paráclito,
sempitérna sit beátæ
Trinitáti glória,
cuius alma nos redémit
atque servat grátia. Amen.

1.WH: ‘the catalogue of indignities’  is assembled from Matt: 27.30, arúndo; Matt: 27:34, fel; Matt: 27.48, acetum; and John 19:34: láncea; John 19:34: clavi; 2. W: sanguis, unda: In this Fortunatus  is thinking of the consecration of baptism by the cross; 3.  W: terra, pontus, astra: the  threefold division of the universe;  mundus: ' the universe ' ; the whole, of which the three preceding words are the component parts ; all things, whether with or without life, ar included, as by St Paul, Col. 1. 20;  4. W: fidelis:  'faithful,' in that this tree did its duty, accomplished what was expected of it. Or it may mean that it was faithful as opposed to the tree of knowledge in Eden, which was treacherous; WH: perhaps also implying “on which our faith depends”; 5. W:nulla silva: i.e. no ordinary forest : this tree came from Paradise; The thought works backwards from blossom to leaf and from leaf to bud ; and the fruit comes in the next line (pondus); 6. W: flecte ramos: 'bend,' that the ascent may be the easier; WH: ‘the personification of the cross reaches its noble climax; 7. W: pretilum saeculi:  the ransom of the world ' was the death of Christ ; here by an easy transition it is applied to the body which suffered death; 8. WH: portum praepare: ‘to pave the way for the harbor of heaven, which the shipwrecked world attains through Christ’s death on the cross. 9. W: nauta: the cross itself floating over the waves of this troublesome world The metaphor is mixed, but Fortunatus is given to combining incongruous notions, of set purpose; WH: the sailor in the barque of the Church under the mast that is the cross.


Behold the vinegar, the gall, the reed, the spit, the nails, and the lance; his tender body pierced through, blood, water flow. Earth, sea, stars and the world washed clean by this river. Faithful Cross, only noble tree above all others, such as no other forest produces, in fruit, leaf or seed; sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the weight it holds.  Bend your branches, lofty tree, relax your inward tension, may your hardness become soft, which nature gives, that your gentle trunk may  bear the limbs of  the King of heaven. You alone were worthy to bear the ransom of the world and provide a safe port for the sailor in a shipwrecked world, you whom the sacred blood anointed, poured forth from the body of the Lamb. Equal and eternal glory to the Father and the Son, the glorious Paraclete, to the blessed Trinity, whose nourishing grace redeems and preserves us. Amen.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Holy Week: ad Officium lectionis: Fortunatus: notanda




The meter, trochaic tetrameter, was used for by the Roman legions celebrating triumphs in Rome.' The hymn very early came into extensive use and is found in most mediaeval Breviaries and Missals. In the older Roman (Venice 1478), Paris of 1643, Sarum, York, Aberdeen, and other Breviaries, it is appointed for use from Passion Sunday to Maundy Thursday’ (Julian, A Dictionary of Hymnology: reflecting earlier use).  In the Liturgica Horarum stanzas 1-4 and 6 are used at the Office of Readings  from Sunday to Friday in Holy Week; stanzas 7-10 at Lauds during the same period.


Pange, lingua, gloriósi (1)
prœlium certáminis, (2)
et super crucis tropæo
dic triúmphum nóbilem,
quáliter redémptor orbis (3)
immolátus vícerit. (4)

De paréntis protoplásti
fraude factor cóndolens, (5)
quando pomi noxiális
morte morsu córruit,
ipse lignum tunc notávit,
damna ligni ut sólveret.

Hoc opus nostræ salútis (6)
ordo depopóscerat, (7)
multifórmis perditóris
arte ut artem fálleret, (8)
et medélam ferret inde, (9)
hostis unde læserat.

Quando venit ergo sacri
plenitúdo témporis, (10)
missus est ab arce Patris
Natus, orbis cónditor,
atque ventre virgináli
carne factus pródiit.

Lustra sex qui iam perácta (11)
tempus implens córporis, (12)
se volénte, natus ad hoc,
passióni déditus,
agnus in crucis levátur
immolándus stípite. (13)

Æqua Patri Filióque,
ínclito Paráclito,
sempitérna sit beátæ
Trinitáti glória,
cuius alma nos redémit
atque servat grátia. Amen.

W = A.S. Walpole, Early Latin Hymns
C = Joseph Connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy
WH = Peter G. Walsh and Christopher Husch, One Hundred Latin Hymns
M = Inge B. Milfull, The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church

 1.   C: Pange: tell, relate, sing; 2. W,C: commenting on the Urban VIII text substituting laurem certaminis for proelium certaminis: the poet was thinking of the struggle, not its result; W: quotes John Mason Neale: ‘it is not to the glory of the termination of our Lord’s conflict with the devil that the poet would have us look but to the glory of the struggle itself.”  3.  Super = de, ‘about’  with the ablative tropæo; 3.  C: quáliter = ‘how, in what way’; W: ‘one of Fortunatus’s favorite words;  4. W: immolátus vícerit: ‘placed side by side form a sharp contrast. The victim was the conqueror’; WH: cite Augustine, Confessions 10: 43-69: ideo victor quia victim; also WH: protoplásti fraude: the reference is to Satan’s hoodwinking of [the first  formed] Adam; m 6. W: hoc opus: the reparation by means of the cross of the bane wrought by the tree of knowledge;  7. ordo = plan; depopóscerat = had demanded in the everlasting counsel of the Father;  8. Arte = craft: ‘that by craft He might foil the craft of the many-shaped destroyer.' Satan appeared to Eve as a serpent, and fashioneth himself into an angel of light,' 2 Cor. xi. 14: ipse enim Satanas transfigurat se in angelum lucis; 9. inde…unde: C: cf. Preface of the Cross: ut unde mors oriebatur, inde vita resurgeret; et qui in lingo vincebat, in lingo quoque vinceretur; 10. plenitúdo témporis: Galatian 4.4; Ephesians 1.10; 11. W: ‘when thirty years were now accomplished’; 12. W: tempus corpus = ‘his life on earth’; 13. W: the altar being the Cross, where the Lamb is offered.

Sing, O tongue, of the glorious battle strife, and tell of the noble triumph upon the trophy of the Cross, how the Redeemer of the world was sacrificed and conquered. Because of our first parent’s deceit the Creator mourned, when Adam  bit that baneful apple and fell to death, then he chose the wood that would restore the wood’s harm. The plan of our salvation demanded this work that by craftiness the craftiness of the multiform destroyer be stopped and to healing from where the enemy had struck.  When therefore the fullness of sacred time had come, the Son, the Creator of the world,  was sent from the Father’s fortress and from a virginal womb he, made flesh, went forth. When he had completed thirty years, finishing the time of his body, by his own will, born for this, given to the passion, the Lamb raised up and sacrificed on the tree of the cross. Equal and eternal glory to the Father and the Son, the glorious Paraclete , to the blessed Trinity, whose nourishing grace redeems and preserves us. Amen.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hymns of Holy Week: Vespers: notanda


Both this hymn and the hymn for the Officium lectionis, Pange, lingua, gloriósi, were written to mark the arrival in Poitiers of a relic of the true cross from Constantinople. The Thuringian princess and Frankish queen, who founded the Abbey of the Holy Cross at Poitiers,  Radegundis, had received the relic  from the Emperor Justin II and Fortunatus was asked to compose an ode to celebrate the arrival of the relic. Stanzas 1, 3, 5-6, & 8 of the original are used at Vespers during Holy Week. Cf. M for a different selection of stanzas and arrangement.

Vexílla regis pródeunt, (1)
fulget crucis mystérium,
quo carne carnis cónditor (2)
suspénsus est patíbulo; (3)

Quo, vulnerátus ínsuper (4)
mucróne diro lánceæ, (5)
ut nos laváret crímine, (6)
manávit unda et sánguine.

Arbor decóra et fúlgida, (7)
ornáta regis púrpura, (8)
elécta digno stípite
tam sancta membra tángere!

Beáta, cuius brácchiis (9)
sæcli pepéndit prétium; (10)
statéra facta est córporis (11)
prædam tulítque tártari. (12)

Salve, ara, salve, víctima,
de passiónis glória,
qua Vita mortem pértulit
et morte vitam réddidit!

O crux, ave, spes única! (13)
hoc passiónis témpore
piis adáuge grátiam
reísque dele crímina.

Te, fons salútis, Trínitas, (14)
colláudet omnis spíritus;
quos per crucis mystérium
salvas, fove per sæcula. Amen.



W = A.S. Walpole, Early Latin Hymns
C = Joseph Connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy
WH = Peter G. Walsh and Christopher Husch, One Hundred Latin Hymns
M = Inge B. Milfull, The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church

 1. W & WH: vexilla = the military standards of the Roman army, which are seen as accompanying the relic; pródeunt/fulget: the procession advances with the relic in a shining reliquary, shining physically and spiritually;  2. “by virtue of the flesh the Creator of flesh, i.e., by virtue of the Incarnation the Creator can be hung on the Cross.  3. C: patíbulo = literally a ‘yoke’ used here for the Cross; W: a yoke shaped somewhat like the letter ‘Y’ placed on the back of criminals, to the arms of which their arms were tied to carry it to the place of execution;  4. W & C: quo = ‘whereon’ and refers to patíbulo;  5. mucróne = sharp point; 6. W: ‘to cleanse us from guilt He shed forth water and blood’-John 19:34: sed unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua; 7. W: ‘The Creator grieving at the harm wrought to (or ' by ') the first man, when by the bite of the fatal apple he fell in death. He even then marked a tree, in order to undo the damage caused by a tree.'  “A legend, … told how that the cross came from the tree in the Garden of Eden, a shoot of which was brought out by Adam and planted by Seth. The tree which grew from this was destroyed in the deluge, but a twig of it was saved by Noah”; 8. WH: “the purple of the king is the blood of Christ”; W: The purple is that of the blood which consecrated the tree as a throne ; It is not of the purple hangings of the processional cross (as Kayser suggests) that the poet is thinking” ; Cf. Paulinus of Nola: Poem 27: 89: “He renews all things under the guidance of the Word, who mounting aloft from the gleaming cross with the purple of His precious blood reached the heights’; 9. W: ' O blessed tree, on whose arms hung the ransom of the world !  It was made a balance for His body and bore away the prey of hell.' 10. WH: “the Crucifixion as the ransom paid for freeing the world from sin”; 11. C: statéra facta est córporis: “The Cross was the scales on which the weight of human sin was counterbalanced by the weight of Christ’s body on the other side, i.e. the Passion of Christ restored the balance between God and man”; 12. Tártari: W: “Fortunatus freely uses the nomenclature of classical mythology’; 13. This stanza was added in the 10th Century and then revised in the Liturgica Horarum. 14. Doxology: novus


The banners of the King advance, the mystery of the Cross shines forth, wherein the Creator of flesh in the flesh is suspended from the gibbet.  Where, wounded he hangs pierced by the harsh spear, that he might wash us from sin by the shedding of his blood. O beautiful and glimmering tree adorned with the purple of the King, tree trunk worthily chosen to bear such holy limbs. Blessed tree from whose branches hung the price of the world; His body weighed upon the scale took away the booty of hell. Hail, O altar, hail, O sacrifice, from the glory of the passion, by which life is carried away from death and by death returned us to life. O Cross, hail, our only hope, in this Passiontide, grant to the holy grace and wash away sins of the guilty.  You, O Trinity, source of salvation, may every spirit praise, whom through the mystery of the Cross, may you save and cherish through the ages. Amen.