Friday, October 04, 2013

Iste Confessor, for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Nicholas Roerich's St. Francis - 1931
Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books prescribes two hymns for Feasts of a Confessor:  Iste confessor  and Jesu, Redemptor Omnium.

Iste Confessor is a beautiful hymn with a wonderful set of words; it's appointed for 1st Evensong and Matins to a variety of melodies.  Here are words to the hymn from Oremus Hymnal; source notes say the hymn is "Latin, eighth century; trans. Laurence Housman, 1906."
He whose confession God of old accepted,
whom through the ages all now hold in honor,
gaining his guerdon this day came to enter
heaven's high portal.

God-fearing, watchful, pure of mind and body,
holy and humble, thus did all men find him;
while, through his members, to the life immortal
mortal life called him.

Thus to the weary, from the life enshrinèd,
potent in virtue, flowed humane compassion;
sick and sore laden, howsoever burdened,
there they found healing.

So now in chorus, giving God the g lory,
raise we our anthem gladly to his honor,
that in fair kinship we may all be sharers
here and hereafter.

Honor and glory, power and salvation,
be in the highest unto him who reigneth
changeless in heaven over earthly changes,
triune, eternal.

The Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood calls it a  "hymn about a Holy Man" for the Common of Saints.  Here's an image of the chant score for melody #56, used at First Vespers.

And here's LLPB's mp3 of Iste Confessor, sung to melody #56.

Hymn melodies provides three tune choices for Iste Confessor sung at Matins; here's one of them, melody #57:

Here's a video of the hymn sung to this melody:

Here are the Latin words:
Iste Confessor Domini colentes
Quem pie laudant populi per orbem :
Hac die laetus meruit beatas
Scandere sedes.

Qui pius, prudens, humilis, pudicus,
Sobriam duxit sine labe vitam.
Donec humanos animavit aurae
Spiritus artus.

Cujus ob praestans meritum frequenter,
Ægra quae passim jacuere membra,
Viribus morbi domitis, saluti

Noster hinc illi chorus obsequentem
Concinit laudem, celebresque palmas;
Ut piis ejus precibus juvemur
Omne per ævum.

Sit salus illi, decus, atque virtus,
Qui super cæli solio coruscans,
Totius mundi seriem gubernat,
Trinus et unus. Amen

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