Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Sarum Pentecost Office

I have previously posted on hymns for Pentecost, but haven't yet listed the entire Office schedule given at Hymn melodies for the whole year, from the Sarum service-books. Which is as follows:
On Whitsun Day & daily until Trinity Sunday
1st Ev.& Matt.:  Jam Christus astra ascenderat ... ... 42
Lauds:   Impleta gaudent viscera ... ... ... 42
2nd Evensong:   Beata nobis gaudia ... ... ... 25

(Follow along with the Offices for Pentecost here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885); that links to "Whitsun Eve."   I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of this post, too.)

This is the chant score for melody #42 Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books:

And here's an audio file of  When Christ Our Lord Had Passed Once More (mp3), the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood's version in English of the Latin hymn. Jam Christus astra ascenderat.  (They presecribe this hymn for Lauds rather than for 1st Vespers and Mattins, though.) 

Here's one version of the full Latin text, and the English words used on the mp3; this is Percy Dearmer's translation from the English hymnal of 1906:

Jam Christus astra ascenderat,
Reversus unde venerat,
Patris fruendum munere
Sanctum daturus Spiritum.

Solemnis urgebat dies,
Quo mystico septemplici
Orbis volutus septies
Signat beata tempora.

Cum lucis hora tertia
Repente mundus intonat,
Apostolis orantibus
Deumvenire nuntiat.

De patris ergo lumine
Decorus ignis almus est,
Qui fida Christi pectore
Calore Verbi compleat.

Impleta gaudent viscera,
Afflata Sancto Spiritu,
Vocesque diversas sonant,
Fantur Dei magnalia.

Notique cunctis gentibus,
Græcis, Latinis, Barbaris,
Simulque demirantibus,
Linguis loquuntur omnium.

Judæa tunc incredula,
Vesana torvo spiritu,
Madere musto sobrios
Christi fideles increpat.

Sed editis miraculis
Occurrit et docet Petrus,
Falsum profari perfidos,
Joele teste comprobans.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito.
In sæculorum sæcula.

When Christ our Lord had passed once more
Into the heaven He left before,
He sent a Comforter below
The Father’s promise to bestow.

The solemn time was soon to fall
Which told the number mystical
For since the resurrection day
A week of weeks had passed away.

At the third hour a rushing noise
Came like the tempest’s sudden voice,
And mingled with the apostles’ prayer,
Proclaiming loud that God was there.

From out the Father’s light it came,
That beautiful and kindly flame,
To kindle every Christian heart,
And fervor of the Word impart.

As then, O Lord, Thou didst fulfill,
Each holy heart to do Thy will,
So now do Thou our sins forgive
And make the world in peace to live.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, praise be done;
May Christ the Lord upon us pour
The Spirit’s gift forevermore.

As you can see, the Sarum Lauds hymn, Impleta gaudent viscera, is found within the text of Jam Christus astra ascenderat itself; this is a very familiar formula.  It very often happens that the hymn texts for the various Offices on a particular feast are actually split-up pieces of one longer text.

It's probably the case that the set of words above made up the long text, and Jam Christus astra ascenderat only uses the first four verses above, plus a doxology.   Then Impleta gaudent viscera uses the rest of the words at Lauds; I do not, at the moment, have an English translation to that hymn (but will keep looking).  In any case, both hymns are sung to the same hymn tune in the Sarum system.

There's quite a bit about the hymn from the page above; I believe it originally comes from Britt's Hymns of the Breviary and MissalReferences to the English translation don't apply to the translation I've posted here.
Author:  Ambrosian, 4th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation: First four stanzas by J. M. Neale; remainder by G. H. Palmer and J. W. Doran. There are about fifteen translations; three of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on Whitsunday and throughout the octave. The hymn is a metrical setting of Acts 2,
  1. “Christ had already ascended on high, returning whence He came, that He might send the Holy Spirit, who was to be received as the gift of the Father.” Fruendum: fut. part. of fruor, signifying one who or that which is to be enjoyed; here rather in the sense of “to be imparted.” Munere, by the liberality, generosity, etc. The Holy Ghost
    proceeds from the Father and the Son, and was sent by the Father and the Son.
  2. “The solemn day drew nigh, on which the earth, having revolved seven times in the mystical sevenfold, announces the blessed time.” Dies, Pentecost. Septemplici = hebdomas, a period of seven days. It is styled mystical because of the well known mysterious significance of the number seven. The meaning of the stanza is that seven times seven revolutions of the earth take place between Easter and Pentecost. The Pentecost of the Jews was celebrated on the fiftieth day after the Passover or Jewish Easter. The Easter and Pentecost of the Jews were figures of the Christian festivals. The Pentecost of the Old Law was the festival on which was celebrated the “ingathering”
    of, and also the thanksgiving for the harvest (cf. Ex. 34, 22; Deut.
    16, 9-10). See also the article on Whitsunday, in the Cath.

    Behold the appointed morn appear
    In solemn mystery sublime!
    Seven times sevenfold this earthly sphere
    Revolving, marked the blessed time.

    J. D. Chambers.
  3. “When at the third hour of day the whole world suddenly resounds, and announces to the praying Apostles that God is come.” Deum = Spiritum Sanctum.
  4. “Of the Father’s light, therefore, is that beauteous, kindly flame, which fills with the fervor of the Word the hearts of those believing in Christ.” Fidus is generally followed by the dative, but in poetry also  by the genitive. Or, fida pectora, Christ’s faithful
    souls. Calore verbi: This may be interpreted as in Neale’s
    version, viz. “To fill with fervor of His word.” It would
    then refer to the gift of fervid eloquence with which the Apostles
    were endowed. Or Verbum might preferably be rendered: the
    Word, the eternal Son of God. Note the following:
    To warm each faithful breast below
    With Christ, the Lord’s all-quickening glow.
    Father Aylward.
  5. “Filled therewith (sc. calore verbi), their hearts, inspired by the Holy Ghost, rejoice, and speaking divers tongues, they proclaim the wondrous works of God.”
  6. “At one and the same time, they (each one) spoke to the astonished people in the tongues of all, and they were understood by all, Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians.” Noti (sunt). Cunctis, etc., are in the dative
    with the passive, not the ablative. Read the article on Tongues,
    Gift of
    , in the Cath. Encycl.
  7. “Then faithless Judea, rendered insane by its savage spirit, accuses the sober, faithful followers of Christ of being drunk with new wine.” Judæa, i.e., the Jews.
  8. “But by the miracles wrought, Peter opposes them, and shows that the perfidious Jews speak falsely, proving it by the testimony of Joel.” (cf. Joel 2, 28).

Here's a PDF of Jam Christus astra ascenderat, including chant score and words, published by Giovanni Vianni.

Here's the Pentecost Vespers hymn, Rejoice, the Year Upon Its Way (mp3), again courtesy of the LLPB.  It's Beata nobis gaudia in Latin, and #25 in the Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books; here's that score:

This page has the words in Latin; this one has the English words used on the audio file; the translation here is by Richard Ellis Roberts, 1906:

Beata nobis gaudia
Anni reduxit orbita,
Cum Spiritus paraclitus
Illapsus est Apostolis.

Ignis vibrante lumine
Linguæ figuram detulit,
Verbis ut essent proflui,
Et caritate fervidi.

Linguis loquuntur omnium,
Turbæ pavent Gentilium:
Musto madere deputant,
Quos spiritus repleverat.

Parata sunt hæc mystice,
Paschæ peracto tempore,
Sacro dierum circulo,
Quo lege fit remissio.

Te nunc Deus piissime
Vultu precamur cernuo,
Illapsa nobis cœlitus
Largire dona Spiritus.

Dudum sacrata pectora
Tua replesti gratia:
Dimitte nostra crimina,
Et da quieta tempora.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito.
In sæculorum sæcula.

Rejoice! the year upon its way
has brought again that blessed day,
when on the chosen of the Lord
the Holy Spirit was outpoured.

On each the fire, descending, stood,
in quivering tongues' similitude,
tongues, that their words might ready prove,
and fire, to make them flame with love.

To all in every tongue they spoke;
amazement in the crowd awoke,
who mocked, as overcome with wine,
those who were filled with power divine.

These things were done in type that day,
when Eastertide had passed away,
the number told which once set free
the captive at the jubilee.

And now, O holy God, this day
regard us as we humbly pray,
and send us, from thy heavenly seat,
the blessings of the Paraclete.

To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, praise be done;
may Christ the Lord upon us pour
the Spirit's gift for evermore.

Here is the Britt entry for this hymn (linked above); the references to the English translation don't apply to the translation I've posted here:
Author: Ascribed to St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (d. 368), but on insufficient evidence. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by W. J. Blew.
There are about twenty translations. The Annus Sanctus contains three translations, and a fragment of a fourth. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Lauds on Whitsunday and throughout the octave.
  1. “The circle of the year has again brought back to us blessed joys, when the Spirit, the Comforter, came down upon the Apostles.”
  2. “The fire with tremulous flame assumed the shape of a tongue, that they might be eloquent in speech and fervent in charity.” Et apparuerunt illis dispertitæ linguæ tamquam ignis, seditque supra singulos eorum (Acts 2, 3).
  3. “Speaking in the tongues of all, the multitudes of the Gentiles are amazed: they deemed as drunk with new wine, those whom the Holy Ghost had filled.”
  4. “These things were wrought mystically, when the Paschal time was completed, in the sacred circle of days in which by law remission occurred.” Circulo = numero, as in the Original Text. Remissio: The allusion is to the annus remissionis (Ezech. 46, 17), or Year of Jubilee, which in the Old Law occurred every fifty years (cf. Lev. 25). During the Year of Jubilee, debts were remitted, slaves liberated, etc. Read the article on Jubilee, in the Cath. Encycl. Read also the article on Sabbatical Year, as both are referred to in Lev. 25.
  5. “With bowed heads, we now beseech Thee, O most loving God, to bestow upon us the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were sent down from heaven.” Largire, imper. of largior.
  6. “Formerly Thou didst fill with Thy grace sacred breasts; pardon now our sins and grant us peaceful days.” The first two lines of this stanza may refer either to our own breasts sanctified in Baptism, or to the breasts of the Apostles which were sanctified in so wondrous a manner on the day of Pentecost. Note the elaborate English doxology.

The LLPB also offer us three additional mp3s for Pentecost:  "a Versicle [mp3] for the Feast of Pentecost";  for Compline:  Veni Creator Spiritus (mp3); and a great bonus file: A Solemn Nunc Dimittis, with a Pentecost antiphon (mp3).  So we are really in luck today.

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

Here's some of my favorite (Western) Pentecost art.   First, from Pierre Reymond, from 1550:

Here's an El Greco, from around 1610:

A Giotto, from around 1305:

A Duccio di Buoninsegna, from around 1310:

My favorite of all, though, is this one, from "the end of the 15th Century," and attributed to "Meister des Salemer Heiligenaltars" (in English: "Master of the Salem Heiligenaltar"), which, as far as I can see, is an anonymous credit (see this page in German, too). This is something I've never seen before, but how gorgeous:

And here are Chantblog posts on the Pentecost propers:


Luís Henriques said...

check out my blog at

bls said...

Very nice! Thanks for the link, and I just subscribed; can't wait to start reading some of those entries.

Thanks again -


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