Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Epiphany Office

From Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books:
On the Feast of Epiphany & during the Octave :
Evensong: Hostis Herodes impie
On the day, the Sunday, & the Octave day, at both Evensongs... ... ... 28
On the remaining days of the Octave... ... ... 29

Mattins: No Hymn on the day itself, but within the Octave and on the Octave day, Hostis Herodes, as above.

Lauds: A Patre Unigenitus
On the day, the Sunday, & the Octave day... ... ... 28
On the remaining days of the Octave... ... ... 29

Follow along with the Offices for this feast at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston) (published in 1885). You'll have all the Psalms, the collect, Chapter, antiphons, etc., for each of the offices of the day at that link, although no music is provided; also check the iFrame look-in at the bottom of this post.

So, there are really only two hymns for this feast, and only two tunes used throughout the Octave; simple! Here are the tunes:

Let's start with Hostis Herodes impie.    The Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood offers an mp3 labeled "Hymn for the Epiphany of our Lord";  the cantor is using melody #28 above.  It's a very pretty, melismatic tune, and the words for this version come from the Lutheran Hymnal:
The star proclaims the King is here;
But, Herod, why this senseless fear?
He takes no realms of earth away
Who gives the realms of heavenly day.

The wiser Magi see from far
And follow on His guiding star;
And led by light, to light they press
And by their gifts their God confess.

Within the Jordan's crystal flood
In meekness stands the Lamb of God
And, sinless, sanctifies the wave,
Mankind from sin to cleanse and save.

At Cana first His power is shown;
His might the blushing waters own
And, changing as He speaks the word,
Flow wine, obedient to their Lord.

All glory, Jesus, be to Thee
For this Thy glad epiphany;
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost forevermore.

 A note there has all kinds of information on sources:
Hymn #131
Text: Matt. 2:9
Author: Coelius Sedulius, c.450
Translated by: John M. Neale, 1852, alt.
Titled: "Hostis Herodes impie"
Tune: "Wo Gott zum Haus"
1st Published in: _Geistliche Lieder_
Town: Wittenberg, 1535

Here's a blurb about Hostis Herodes impie from TPL:
Written by Caelius Sedulius (5th cent). This hymn is a continuation of the hymn A solis ortus cardine and is used for Vespers on Epiphany.
 Under that listing, you find this note:
Written by Coelius Sedulius (d c 450) in iambic dimeter. This hymn, which is used for Lauds during the Christmas season, is the first seven verses of a much longer alphabetic hymn. Four other verses form a second hymn, Hostis Herodes impie which is used for Epiphany.

Lost in recent times is the fact that Epiphany has, over the centuries, celebrated several "manifestations" of Christ: the Visitation of the Wise Men; Christ's baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist; and Christ's first miracle at the wedding at Cana.   And these three events are indeed mentioned in Hostis Herodes impie.

Here's the Latin version of Hostis Herodes impie sung by the Capella Gregoriana Easo to melody #28, with words below the video, from CPDL:

Hostis Herodes impie,
Christum venire quid times?
Non eripit mortalia,
Qui regna dat caelestia.

Ibant magi, quam viderant,
Stellam sequentes praeviam:
Lumen requirunt lumine,
Deum fatentur munere.

Lavacra puri gurgitis
Caelestis Agnus attigit;
Peccata, quae non detulit,
Nos abluendo sustulit.

Novum genus potentiae,
Aquae rubescunt hydriae,
Vinumque iussa fundere
Mutavit unda originem.

Gloria tibi, Domine,
Qui apparuisti hodie,
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.

I have not found a recording of melody #29 so far - nor have I found a recording of the Lauds hymn for Epiphany, as given above, A Patre Unigenitus.

However,  I did find this video of a hymn labeled A Patre Unigenite - which is here, to my amazement and delight, sung to the tune of the beautiful Transfiguration hymn Quicumque Christum queritis!

There's no reason at all, to my mind, that you couldn't substitute this  beautiful melody for melody #29, and use it for both these hymns on Epiphany.

This is certainly the same hymn; the Latin words sung in the video match these, found at Breviarium ad usum insignis Ecclesie Eboracensis, Volume 1; Volume 71:
A patre unigenitus
ad nos venit per virginem
baptisma cruce consecrans
cunctos fideles generans.

De celo celsus prodiit
excepit formam hominis:
facturam rnorte redimens:
gaudia vite largiens.

Hoc te redemptor quesumus
illabere propicius:
clarumque nostris sensibus
lumen prebe fidelibus.

Mane nobiscum domine :
noctem obscuram remove:
omne delictum ablue :
piam medelam tribue.

Quem jam venisse novimus
redire item credimus:
tu sceptrum tuum inclytum:
tuo defende clyppeo.

Gloria tibi domine
qui apparuisti hodie.

The English version of this hymn is found in Cyberhymal. Here's the description there:
Un­known au­thor, writ­ten be­tween the 10th and 13th Cen­tu­ries (A Pa­tre Un­i­gen­i­tus); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, St. Mar­ga­ret’s Hymn­al, 1875, alt.
These are the words given there, another J.M. Neale translation:
From God the Father, virgin-born
To us the only Son came down;
By death the font to consecrate,
The faithful to regenerate.

Beginning from His home on high
In human flesh He came to die;
Creation by His death restored,
And shed new joys of life abroad.

Glide on, O glorious Sun, and bring
The gift of healing on Your wing;
To every dull and clouded sense
The clearness of Your light dispense.

Abide with us, O Lord, we pray;
The gloom of darkness chase away;
Your work of healing, Lord, begin,
And take away the stain of sin.

Lord, once You came to earth’s domain
And, we believe, shall come again;
Be with us on the battlefield,
From every harm Your people shield.

To You, O Lord, all glory be
For this Your blest epiphany;
To God Whom all His hosts adore,
And Holy Spirit evermore.

Here is another set of words from Cyberhymnal, which calls this hymn "The Father’s sole begotten Son," "trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Thom­as B. Poll­ock in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern (HAM), 1889, and re­cast by the com­pil­ers of HAM in 1904."
The Father’s sole begotten Son
Was born, the virgin’s Child, on earth;
His cross for us adoption won,
The life and grace of second birth.

Forth from the height of Heav’n He came,
In form of man with man abode;
Redeemed His world from death and shame,
The joys of endless life bestowed.

Redeemer, come with power benign,
Dwell in the souls that look for Thee;
O let Thy light within us shine
That we may Thy salvation see.

Abide with us, O Lord, we pray,
Dispel the gloom of doubt and woe;
Wash every stain of guilt away,
Thy tender healing grace bestow.

Lord, Thou hast come, and well we know
That Thou wilt likewise come again;
Thy kingdom shield from every foe,
Thy honor and Thy rule maintain.

Eternal glory, Lord, to Thee,
Whom, now revealed, our hearts adore;
To God the Father glory be,
And Holy Spirit evermore.

Here are some pages I have for the complete Lauds and Vespers Epiphany Offices, including both of these hymns:

Tribus miraculis, the antiphon upon Magnificat for second vespers of the Epiphany, is another clear enunciation of the more ancient, three-fold way of understanding this feast.  Here it is sung by Giovanni Viannini:

Tribus miraculis ornatum, diem sanctum colimus:
Hodie stella Magos duxit ad praesepium:
Hodie vinum ex aqua factum est ad nuptias:
Hodie in Jordane a Joanne Christus baptizari voluit,
ut salvaret nos, Alleluia.
Three are the miracles we celebrate this day:
On this day by a star the wise men were led to the manger;
On this day wine out of water was brought forth for the wedding feast;
On this day in Jordan's waters by Saint John's hand Jesus chose to be baptized,
That he might save us. Alleluia.

Here's the chant score:

Here's that peek-in to the SSM Breviary for this feast:


Anonymous said...


bls said...

Glad to be of help! Thanks for letting me know, and God bless you, too.


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