Feria secunda: Ad tertiam in Quadragesima
In the Durham Hymnal this hymn is used at Compline. The collectar specifies it for the 3rd and 4th Saturdays and the 3rd Sunday of Lent. The Anglo-Saxon version does not have the third stanza, nor the same doxology. It is taken from Prudentius, Cathemerinon VII.
O Nazarene, lux Bethlehem, Verbum Patris.
Quem partus alvi Virginalis protulit,
Adesto castis, Christe, parsimoniis,
Festumque nostrum rex serenus adspice,
Jejuniorum dum litamus victimam.
Nil hoc profecto purius mysterio,
Quo fibra cordis expiatur vividi,
Intemperata quo domantur viscera,
Arvina putrem ne resudans crapulam
Obstrangulatae mentis ingenium premat.
Hinc subjugatur luxus, et turpis gula,
Vini atque somni degener socordia,
Libido sordens, inverecundus lepos,
Variaeque pestes languidorum sensuum
Parcam subactae disciplinam sentiunt.
Nam si licenter diffluens potu et cibo,
Jejuna rite membra non coerceant:
Sequitur, frequenti marcida oblectamine,
Scintilla mentis ut tepescat nobilis,
Animusque pigris stertat ut praecordiis.
Amen. Honor, potestas, etc.
O man of Nazareth. Light of Bethlehem, the Word of the Father, whom the birth from a virginal womb brought forth, assist us, O Christ, in this season of chaste abstinence and as a peaceful king watch over our observance, while we offer up the sacrifice of fasting. Nothing is more cleansing than carrying out this mystery, by which the very fiber of the living heart is cleansed, through which the intemperance within us is conquered, lest unbridled fat and sordid drunkenness be not restrained and the natural capacity of the strangled mind be strangled and oppressed. In this way luxury and base gluttony are brought low, degenerate sloth of wine and sleep, filthy lust and foolish wit and the various plagues of sick feelings are subjected and made to feel the discipline of restraint. For if drink and food flow freely, the body is not coerced with proper fasting, it follows that, exhausted by continual amusement, the noble spark of the mind grows tepid and the soul sleeps from the laziness of the inmost heart.
Feria secunda: Ad sextam in Quadragesima
Referre prisci stemma nunc jejunii
Libet, fideli proditum volumine,
Ut diruendae Civitatis incolis
Fulmen benigni mansuefactum Patris
Pie repressis ignibus pepercerit.
Gens insolenti praepotens jactantia
Pollebat olim, quam fluentem nequiter
Corrupta vulgo solverat lascivia:
Et inde bruto contumax fastidio,
Cultum superni negligebat Numinis.
Offensa tandem jugis indulgentiae
Censura, justis excitatur motibus,
Dextram perarmat rhomphaeali incendio;
Nimbos crepantes et fragosos turbines
Vibrans, tonantum nube flammarum quatit.
Sed poenitendi dum datur diecula,
Si forte vellent improbam libidinem,
Veteresque nugas, condomare ac frangere,
Suspendit ictum terror exorabilis,
Paulumque dicta substitit sententia.
Honor, potestas, etc
I would now tell the ancient origin of the fast, passed down in that trustworthy book, how the good of the Father softening his thunderbolt, repressing his fire by love, did not attack the inhabitants of a city that deserved to be destroyed. Once a powerful people flourished with insolent pride, in which, opulent and dissolute, their corrupted lasciviousness had caused general dissipation, and so, obstinate in foolish disdain, they disregarded the worship of the heavenly God. After a long indulgence, the divine justice so offended is indignant and armed his hand with a sword of fire. Dark clouds burst out with a crash; Livid and thunderous fires shake the vault of heaven on the head of the guilty. But, they are given time to repent; He is still free to censure the course of their shameful debaucheries; They may, if they will, arrest the disorders in which they have grown old; The merciful vengeance deigns to suspend its blows; and for a brief space the sentence already issued was suspended.
Feria secunda: Ad nonam in Quadragesima
Sed cur vetustae gentis exemplum loquor?
Pridem caducis cum gravatus artubus
Jesus, dicato corde jejunaverit;
Praenuncupatus ore qui prophetico.
Emmanuel est, sive nobiscum Deus?
Qui corpus istud molle naturaliter,
Captumque laxo sub voluptatum jugo,
Virtutis arcta lege fecit liberum,
Emancipator servientis plasmatis,
Regnantis ante victor et cupidinis.
Inhospitali namque secretus loco,
Quinis diebus octies labentibus,
Nullam ciborum vendicavit gratiam,
Firmans salubri, scilicet, jejunio
Vas appetendis imbecillum gaudiis.
Honor, potestas. Etc.
But what does the example of an ancient people tell us? When Jesus himself, long since weighted down with a perishable body, fasted with a dedicated heart; he who was long before named by the mouth of prophecy ‘Emmanuel’, or, ‘God with us’. He, who had a weak body according to nature and yet loosened from the captivity of the yoke of pleasure, made free by the strong law of virtue, deliverer of created slaves, victor over the concupiscence which previously ruled them.For hidden in an inhospitable place, in the course of five times eight days, he did not demand the grace of any food, strengthening with a healthy fast the weak vessel for the joys sought.
Hymnus ad Sextam in Quadragesima
In tota Quadragesima feriabilis diebus canatur . . . ad sextam, ‘meridie orandum est’
Ælfric's Letter to the Monks of Eynsham Wincester Hymnal: ferias in Lent; Canterbury and Durham Hymnal: daily in Lent.
YMNUS AD SEXTAM
MERIDIE ORANDUM EST
Christusque deprecandus est,
ut iubeat nos edere
de suo sancto corpore,
ut ille sit laudabilis
in universis populis,
ipse celorum dominus,
qui sedet in altissimis,
detque nobis auxilium
per angelos mirabiles,
qui semper nos custodiant
in omni vita seculi,
Gloria tibi, trinitas
Prayer must be made at noonday and we must ask Christ that he command us to eat of his holy body, that he be praised among all peoples, He, the Lord of heaven, who is enthroned in the highest, and that he give us help through his wondrous angels, who for ever guard us in whole life of the world.
The Durham Hymnal appoints this hymn for Lent, as does the Cistercian Hymnal. In the Sarum usage it was sung at Matins.
SUMME LARGITOR PREMII,
spes qui es unica mundi,
preces intende servorum
ad te devota clamantum.
Nostra te conscientia
grave offendisse monstrat
quam emundes, supplicamus,
ab omnibus piaculis.
Si rennuis, quis tribuet?
Indulge, quia potens es.
Si corde rogamus mundo,
certe debes ex promissio.
Ergo acceptare nostrum,
qui sacrasti, ieiunium,
quo mystice paschalia
Summa nobis hoc conferat
in deitate trinitas,
in qua gloriatur unus
per cuncta secula deus.
Most high giver of reward, you who are the one hope of the world, attend to the prayers of your servants, calling to you with devotion. Our conscience shows that we have gravely offended you, which we pray you will cleanse from all sin. If you refuse, who will grant it? Forgive us, for you are powerful. If we ask with a clean heart, certainly you must grant it as you promised. Therefore, receive our fast, which you consecrated we may take spiritually the Paschal sacrament. May the most high Trinity in godliness confer this, by which the one God is glorified through all ages. Amen.
From Milfull, The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church
In one manuscript this hymn appears in the section for Lent, while in another it is among the ferial hymns. It is taken from Prudentius’s Cathemerinon VI, verses 125-153.
Although not written as a Lenten hymn, nor as Compline hymn either, this hymn does cover many of the themes of the Lenten season: baptism, te fontis et lavacri, the passion, Crux pellit omne crimen, the temptation, O tortuose serpens.
Cultor Dei memento
te fontis et lavacri
rorem subisse sanctum,
te chrismate innotatum.
Fac, cum vocante somno
castum petis cubile,
frontem locumque cordis
crucis figura signet.
Crux pellit omne crimen,
fugiunt crucem tenebrae:
tali dicata signo
mens fluctuare nescit.
Procul, o procul vagantum
procul esto pervicaci
O tortuose serpens,
qui mille per maeandros
agitas quieta corda,
Discede, Christus hic est,
hic Christus est, liquesce:
signum quod ipse nosti
damnat tuam catervam.
Corpus licet fatiscens
iaceat recline paullum,
Christum tamen sub ipso
Gloria eterno patri
et Christo vero regi,
et nunc et in perpetuum.
O you who worship God, remember that you were washed in the fount, submitted to the holy dew, were marked by the chrism. When sleep calls you, be sure to seek your chaste bed, your forehead and the place of your heart be signed with the figure of the cross. The cross repels all sin, darkness flees the cross, when such a sign is made, the mind will know no wavering. Far away, far way be the omens of wandering dreams, be far away, you deceiver, with your stubborn tricks. O writhing serpent, who through your thousand-fold wanderings and slippery deceits, agitate quiet hearts. Depart! Christ is here! Christ is here! Melt away! The sign you yourself recognize damns your band. The body, grown weary, may lie back and relax a bit, yet even in sleep it meditates on Christ. Glory to the eternal Father and to Christ the true King, and to the Holy Comforter, now and forever. Amen.
Vespers, first and second Sundays in Lent: Gernot B. Wieland, The Canterbury Hymnal
YMNUS AD VESPERAM
SIC TER QUATERNIS TRAHITUR
horis dies ad vesperum,
occasum sol pronuntians
noctis redire tempora.
nos ergo signo domini
tutemus claustra pectorum,
ne serpens ille callidus
intrandi temptet aditum
sed armis pudicitie
mens fulta vigil libere
hostem repellat inprobum.
sed nec ciborum crapula
tandem distentet corpora,
ne vi per sompnum animam
Gloria tibi, trinitas
Gloria tibi, trinitas
Thus in three times four hours day is dragged into evening, the sun announces its setting, the time of night returns. Therefore, let us guard the enclosure of the hearts with the sign of the Lord lest that crafty serpent should try to enter. But let the vigilant mind freely depend on the weapons of modesty and with its companion, sobriety, repel the wicked enemy. But may the drunkenness of food not bloat our bodies lest by force it should pollute the glory-filled soul.