Page:The seven great hymns of the mediaeval church - 1902.djvu/164

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134
The Veni Creator.

THE VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS.

 

 

" CHARLEMAGNE, réclamé par l'Egliſe comme un ſaint, par les Francais comme leur plus grand roi, par les Allemands comme leur compatriote, par les Italiens comme leur empereur," is the reputed author of this Latin hymn. Men naturally prefer to trace a venerable and renowned compoſition to an unexpected authorſhip, and to find the refinement of letters in thoſe otherwiſe diſtinguiſhed; ſtill more, to diſcover in a great ſoldier and a great king the doubly refined gift of ſacred poetry. It is not impoſſible. "The eloquence of Charlemagne," ſays his Secretary, "was abundant. He was able to expreſs with facility all he wiſhed; and, not content with his mother-tongue, he beſtowed great pains upon foreign languages. He had taken ſo well to the Latin, that he was able to ſpeak publicly in that lan-