Monday, December 3, 2012

What Does the Hymn Really Say? Advent Lauds

6th Century Advent Hymn form the Monastic Diurnal

VOX clara ecce intonat,
obscura quaeque increpat:
pellantur eminus somnia;
ab aethere Christus promicat.

Behold a glorious voice resounds
Rebuking whatever is dark
Dreams are driven far away
Christ from the sky shines forth 

Mens iam resurgat torpida
quae sorde exstat saucia;
sidus refulget iam novum,
ut tollat omne noxium.

Now the sleepy mind arises
Which is wounded by sin
Now the new star shines
To take away all harm       

E sursum Agnus mittitur
laxare gratis debitum;
omnes pro indulgentia
vocem demus cum lacrimis,

From above the Lamb is sent
To loose with graces the debt
For forgiveness let us all
Give voice with tears.        

Secundo ut cum fulserit
mundumque horror cinxerit,
non pro reatu puniat,
sed nos pius tunc protegat.

That when a second time he comes
And dread grips the world
He not punish (our) guilt
But then lovingly protect us.     

1. vox the voice of St. John Baptist. cf. line 9 Agnus (Dei)
3. Somnia could mean vain, harmful dreams as it is often translated but also simply dreams which disappear when one wakes.
12. Noxium as often in the hymns of Lauds and Vespers means  ‘harm’ and but refers also to ‘night’
5.7. 16. iam ...iam...tunc: now . . . now .... and finally then of the Second Coming.

Any corrections are welcome.

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