Friday, February 02, 2007
(I stole this from Brother Lawrence Lew, OP, at The New Liturgical Movement. He won't mind.)
In the Dominican Missal, the Sequence Laetabundus, is still permitted for the Third Mass of Christmas, the Epiphany and Candlemas. This was once the most famed of Nativity sequences and it was attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux (died 1153). It was proper to the Praemonstratensian liturgy and was especially popular in England and France. It is written in rhymed stanzas and thus differs from most early proses.
This Sequence is believed to survive today only in the Dominican liturgical books and the recording above is from the Dominican priory of the Holy Spirit (Blackfriars) in Oxford.
(Now, everybody sing along...)
Laetabundus / exsultet fidelis chorus. / Alleluia.
Regem regum / intactae profudit thorus: / res mirranda.
Angelus consilii / natus est de virgine: / sol de stella.
Sol occasum nesciens, / stella semper rutilans, / semper clara.
Sicut sidus radium, / profert Virgo Filium, / pari forma.
Neque sidus radio, / neque mater filio, / fit corrupta.
Cedrus alta Libani / conformatur hyssopo, / valle nostra;
Verbum ens Altissimi / corporari passum est, / carne sumpta.
Isaias cecinit, / Synagoga meminit, / numquam tamen desinit / esse caeca.
Si non suis vatibus, / credat vel gentilibus; / Sibyllinis versibus / haec praedicta.
Infelis, propera, / crede vel vetera: / cur damnaberis, / gens misera?
Quem docet littera, / natum considera: / ipsum genuit puerpera. / Alleluia.
(Once more, in English.)
Faithful people, / Sweeten all your song with gladness. / Alleluia.
Matchless maiden / Bringeth forth the Prince of princes: / O! the marvel.
Virgin compasseth a man, / Yea, the angel of the plan: / Star the Dayspring.
Day that sunset shall not close, / Star that light on all bestows, / Ever cloudless.
As the star, light crystalline, / Mary hath a Son divine / In her likeness.
Star that shining grows not dim, / Nor his Mother, bearing him, / Less a maiden.
The great tree of Lebanon / Hyssop's lowliness puts on / In our valley;
And the Word of God Most High / Self-imprisoned doth lie / In our body.
So Isaias sang of old, / So the Synagogue doth hold, / But the sunrise finds her cold / Hard and blinded.
Of her own she will not mark, / Let her to the gentiles hark; / For the Sybil's verses dark / Tell of these things.
Make haste, O luckless one, / Give ear to the saints bygone: / Why perish utterly, / O race undone?
He whom thy seers foretell / Born is in Israel: / Mary's little Son, O mark him well. / Alleluia.
[UPDATE: Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous groundhog, did not see his shadow today. So we can look forward to an early spring. Not that the middle Atlantic states had much of a winter. On the other hand, way out West...]