Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences
TRANSLATED BY THE LATE
REV. J. M. NEALE, D.D.
WITH VERY NUMEROUS ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.
Cura de Sanctis vitiosa non est,
Nec rudis unquam"
JOSEPH MASTERS, ALDERSGATE STREET,
AND NEW BOND STREET.
PRINTED BY JOSEPH MASTERS AND SON,
REVEREND THOMAS HELMORE, M.A.,
PRIEST IN ORDINARY TO THE QUEEN,
PRECENTOR OF S. MARK'S COLLEGE, ETC., ETC.,
AS A MARK OF GRATITUDE
FOR HIS LABOURS IN THE REFORMATION OF
The ten years which have elapsed since the first edition of the present little work have done very much for the science of Hymnology. They have witnessed the publication, in Germany, of Mone's three volumes, of Daniel's fourth and fifth, and of Cunz's Geschichte des Deutschen Kirchenliedes: in France, of Gautier's Adam of S. Victor: in England, of my own Sequentiæ Medii Ævi, and the yet unfinished series of Sequentiæ Ineditæ in the "Ecclesiologist."
During the same period at least sixty different hymnals have issued from the press, the most memorable being the Hymnal Noted, the Sarum Hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern, Mr. Chope's Collection, and Sir Roundell Palmer's Book of Praise. Though not a Hymnal, it would be unjust not to mention Mr. J. D. Chambers' translation of the Sarum Breviary, with the new translation of its Hymns.
It would be, I think, merely unthankful to Him from Whom all good things come, did I not express my gratitude for the great favour He has given so many of my translations, (both in this and other works) in the English Church: and more especially "Jerusalem the Golden," "To thee, O dear dear country," "The strain upraise," "Christ is made the sure foundation," and "The Royal Banners." That they have been a good deal altered in their various transcriptions was only to be expected; and I hope that the remarks which I have here and there made in the following pages on some of these alterations, will not be taken, as I am sure they were not meant, unkindly. In some instances I thankfully acknowledge them to be improvements: in some I think that had the reproducers studied the Commentaries of Clichtoveus and Nebrissensis, they would have left the original as it was: I will give an example or two. In the glorious Ad Cœnam Agni providi the last word of the first line is undoubtedly the nominative case plural;
The Lamb's high banquet we await,
as it is in the Hymnal Noted. But in most reproductions that line is altered, I suppose from the editors' either not seeing or not believing that the adjective applies to ourselves, not to the Lamb.
Again, in the same Hymn:—
Cruore ejus roseo
is translated by
And tasting of His roseate Blood.
The epithet is everywhere altered to crimson: because the editors did not see its force. The poet would tell us that, though one drop of our Lord's Blood was sufficient to redeem the world,
(Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere,
at S. Thomas says,) yet out of the greatness of His love to us He would shed all. As every one knows, the last drainings of life-blood are not crimson, but of a far paler hue: strictly speaking, roseate. Change the word, and you eliminate the whole idea.
Some of the happiest and most instructive hours of my life were spent in the Sub-Committee of the Ecclesiological Society, appointed for the purpose of bringing out the Second Part of the Hymnal Noted. It was my business to lay before them the translations I had prepared, and theirs to correct. The study which this required drew out the beauties of the original in a way which nothing else could have done, and the friendly collision of various minds elicited ideas which a single translator would, in all probability, have missed. I have been amused to find, in some reproductions of these hymns, a line given as I had at first written it, to the exclusion of our deliberate correction. If any one cares to see how much the hymns were improved by the process, he may compare the two of Venantius Fortunatus, as they stand in the first and in the present edition of this book.
There is only one thing with respect to the use of any of my hymns that has grieved me; the rejection of the noble melody of the Alleluiatic Sequence, and that for a third-rate chant. What would be said of chanting the Dies Iræ? And yet I really believe that it would suffer less than does the Cantemus cuncti by such a substitution. Further, be it noticed, every sentence, I had almost said every word, of the version was carefully fitted to the music: the length of the lines corresponds to the length of each troparion in the original:—and these are now stretched on the Procrustean bed of the same meaningless melody. That the original music cannot be learnt in an hour or two is most certain: but seeing that I have heard it thoroughly well sung, and most heartily enjoyed, by a school choir, varying in ages from fourteen to five, is it not unworthy of the great choral meetings, as at Ely, Salisbury, Sherborne, and elsewhere, including the words in their programmes, so utterly to spoil them in their performance? Let it be remembered that I have some little right to speak on the subject, having been the first to introduce the Sequence to English readers, and there being, even now, no other translation but my own. I will only add, that I could, and gladly would, procure the opportunity of hearing it sung by the Choir of a London church for any Choir-master who may be desirous of introducing it into his own.
I felt that the best return I could make for the great kindness with which hymns from this little volume and others of mine have been received was to spare no pains in improving them as far as I possibly could. And above all have I endeavoured to do this in Adam of S. Victor, to my mind the greatest Latin poet, not only of mediæval, but of all, ages. It is a magnificent thing to pass along the far-stretching vista of Hymns,—from the sublime self-containedness of S. Ambrose to the more fervid inspiration of S. Gregory, the exquisite typology of Venantius Fortunatus, the lovely painting of S. Peter Damiani, the crystal-like simplicity of S. Notker, the scriptural calm of Godescalcus, the subjective loveliness of S. Bernard, till all culminate in the full blaze of glory which surrounds Adam of S. Victor, the greatest of all. And though Thomas of Celano in one unapproachable Sequence distanced him, and the author, whoever he were, of the Verbum Dei Deo natum once equalled him, what are we to think of the genius that could pour forth one hundred Sequences, of which fifty at least are unequalled save by the Dies Iræ?
When the first edition of my book was published, Gautier's collection of the works of Adam had not appeared:—and several of them were yet MS. Two out of these, the Stola Regni laureatus; and the Verbi vere substantivi, will be found here. Probably no poet is so hard to translate, from the subtleness of his allusions, the richness of his rhyme, the close way in which he packs his meaning. And I am therefore bound to express my deep gratitude to the first Victorine scholar in England, and probably in Europe, the Dean of Westminster, for his criticisms and alterations. At p. 126 are these lines:
Whom Luke's pen, true ox-horn, showeth
On the Cross whence healing floweth:
Dr. Trench pointed out to me that in the original
Quem exaltat super cruce
Cornu bovis, penna Lucæ,
I had omitted the force of the exaltat as taken in connection with the cornu, and proposed—unfortunately too late for me to insert it in the text,—what I should wish to be read there:
Whom Luke's pen, true ox-horn, lifted
On the Cross with healing gifted.
Indeed, Adam is worth any pains and any study:—and if any reader thinks it worth while to compare the translations from him in the first and second editions of my book, he will see, I think, that they have not been spared.
One more observation remains to be made. I have kept strictly to the rule of adopting the exact measure and rhyme of the original,—at whatever inconvenience and cramping. The only exception is that, in Trochaics of this character:
In Patre potentia cuncta denotatur:
Filio prudentia omnis declaratur:
Gratia Paraclito universa datur,
Qui cum Patre Natoque conglorificatur,
where they rhyme, as here, in quatrains, I have usually rhymed them in couplets.
Dean Trench has, in his Calderon, some most excellent remarks on this subject, to which I would refer the reader.
And to what is there said, must he added the terrible loss thereby sustained through the loss of the original melodies. Many of the modern books, for instance, oblige him that employs them, for example, in the beautiful Jesu dulcis memoria, to forego the exquisite Sarum Christmas melody to which it was sung as a hymn in the old English Church:—and the still more exquisite sequence melody to which it belonged when a prose:—a melody which I have heard every Sunday after evening service for more than six years, and love more dearly every time I do hear it. He cannot sing the Ad Cœnam Agni providi to its own noble tune: nor, as I have said, the Alleluiatic Sequence: and so of several others. It is from this defect that, popular, and in many respects deservedly popular, as Hymns Ancient and Modern are now, I cannot but believe that, as the science of Hymnology deepens it will either have to reform itself in this particular, or to make way to a rival which shall observe this all-important rule.
I can only repeat, in conclusion, how sorry I should be if anything either in the above preface, or in the notes, gives pain, and that no one can be more thankful than I should be for any criticism of which I may avail myself in (should it be called for) a future edition.
S. Stephen, 1862.
Pange lingua gloriosi. Venantius Fortunatus. About 580
Vexilla Regis prodeunt. Venantius Fortunatus. About 580
Apparebit repentina magna Dies Domini. Seventh Century
Sancti, venite, Corpus Christi sumite, Seventh Century
Hymnum Canentes Martyrum. Venerable Bede. Died 735
Urbs Beata Jerusalem. Eighth Century
Gloria, laus, et honor. S. Theodulph of Orleans. Died 821
Tibi, Christe, Splendor Patris. B. Hrabanus Maurus. Died 856
Sancti Spiritus adsit nobis gratia. S. Notker. Died about 912
Laus tibi, Christe. Godescalcus. Died about 950
Cœli enarrant. Godescalcus
Cantemus Cuncti—The Alleluiatic Sequence. Godescalcus
Lauda, Mater Ecclesia. S. Odo of Cluny. Died 937
Chorus Novæ Jerusalem. S. Fulbert of Chartres. Died about 1029
Audi nos, Rex Christe. Eleventh Century
Gravi me terrore pulsas, vitæ dies ultima. S. Peter Damiani. Died 1072
Crux mundi benedictio. S. Peter Damiani. Died 1072
Cives Cœlestis Patriæ. Marbodus of Rennes. Died 1125
Hora Novissima. Bernard of Cluny. Twelfth Century
Patris Sapientia, Bonitas Divina. Twelfth Century
Cœnam cum discipulis. Twelfth Century
Jucundare, plebs fidelis. Adam of S. Victor. Died 1192
Ecce dies celebris. Adam of S. Victor
Zyma vetus expurgetur. Adam of S. Victor
Verbi vere substantivi. Adam of S. Victor
Supernæ Matris Gaudia. Adam of S. Victor
Interni Festi Gaudia. Adam of S. Victor
Heri mundus exultavit. Adam of S. Victor
Missus Gabriel de Cœlis. Adam of S. Victor
Laudes Crucis attollamus. Adam of S. Victor
Quam dilecta tabernacula. Adam of S. Victor
Stola Regni laureatus. Adam of S. Victor
|*||In hoc anni circulo.||
Apparently of the Twelfth Century.
|O Filii et Filiæ.||163|
|*||Surrexit Christus hodie.||166|
|*||Finita jam sunt prœlia.||168|
|*||Jam pulsa cedunt nubila.||170|
|*||Veni, veni, Emmanuel.||171|
|*||Cœlos ascendit hodie.||173|
Ecce tempus est vernale. Thirteenth Century
Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas. S. Thomas Aquinas. Died 1274
Pange lingua gloriosi. S. Thomas Aquinas.
Alleluia, dulce carmen. Thirteenth Century
Multi sunt Presbyteri. Fourteenth Century
Gloriosi Salvatoris. Fifteenth Century
|*||Attolle paullum lumina.||
Fifteenth or Sixteenth Century.
|*||Exite, Sion Filiæ.||217|
|*||Huc ad Jugum Calvariæ.||220|
|*||Triumphe! plaudant maria.||223|
N.B.—An asterisk means that the piece here translated had never received an English version from a previous writer.
A † that it was not contained in the first edition of the present book.
And ¶ that it has never been printed anywhere till in this second edition.