Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28: Holy Innocents

From Hymn Melodies for the Whole Year from the Sarum Service-Books:
On the Feast of the Holy Innocents & on the Octave Day :
Mattins Sanctorum meritis ... ... ... 52
Lauds & EvensongRex gloriose martyrum ... ... ... 27

Follow along with the Office for today - including antiphons, hymns, Psalms, Chapter, etc., although no music is provided - at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).   I'll link-in via iFrame to the SSM book at the bottom of the post too.

Sanctorum meritis is to be sung to this melody on this day:

This, I believe, will be the Latin text; it comes from CPDL; that entry's referring to another sacred song of unknown origin (for "SSTT" voices), probably based on the Gregorian chant and its text:
Sanctorum meritis inclita gaudia
pangamus socii gestaque fortia
nam gliscit animus promere cantibus
victorum genus optimum.

Hi sunt quo retines mundis inhorruit

Ipsum nam sterile flore per aridum
Sprevere penitus teque secuti sunt,
Rex, Christe, bone cælitum.

Hi pro te furias sævaque sustinent;

non murmur resonat, non querimonia,
sed corde tacito mens bene conscia
conservat patientiam.

Quæ vox, quæ poterit lingua retexere

Quæ tu martyribus munera præparas?
Rubri nam fluido sanguine laureis
Ditantur bene fulgidis.

Te, Trina Deitas unaque, poscimus,

ut culpas abluas, noxia quoque gloriam
per cuncta tibi sæcula.
A note at the CPDL page says that this is "A Martyrs' hymn transcribed from the Trent manuscript tr89."  Various sources give the author as "unknown" - or else Rabanus Maurus, the 8th-Century monk and archbishop of Mainz.

This is the same hymn that Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books calls for at Matins "On the Feast of several Martyrs (or Confessors)."  LLPB sings it as "The Noble Deeds of Saints (MP3).   (Note:  that mp3 is a recording of melody 51, not melody 52; see for instance September 9: Constance and her Companions, Martyrs for that chant score.)   

Cyberhymnal calls it "The Triumph of the SaintsHere are the words from J.M. Neale's translation; pretty close to what's on the recording:
The triumphs of the saints,
The toils they bravely bore,
The love that never faints,
Their glory evermore—
For these the Church today
Pours forth her joyous lay;
What victors wear so rich a bay?

This clinging world of ill
Them and their works abhorred;
Its withering flowers still
They spurned with one accord;
They knew them short lived all,
How soon they fade and fall,
And followed, Jesu, at Thy call.

What tongue may here declare,
Fancy or thought descry,
The joys Thou dost prepare
For these Thy saints on high?
Empurpled in the flood
Of their victorious blood,
They won the laurel from their God.

O Lord most high, we pray,
Stretch forth Thy mighty arm
To put our sins away
And shelter us from harm;
O give Thy servants peace;
From guilt and pain release;
Our praise to Thee shall never cease.

Cyberhymnal offers another English translation of the hymn as well.

Here's a video from Giovanni Viannini - and still another melody not melody 52.   Haven't been able to find that tune anywhere so far. says this:
Sanctorum meritis inclita gaudia. [Common of Martyrs.] This hymn is frequently referred to by Hinemar in his "De una et non trina Deitate," 857; but he distinctly says he could not discover its author. It is found in four manuscripts of the 11th century in the British Museum; and in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo Saxon Church, 1851, is printed from an 11th century manuscript at Durham. Also in a manuscript of the 10th century at Bern, No. 455; in a manuscript of the 11th century at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (No. 391, p. 272); in the St. Gall manuscript 413 and 414, of the 11th century. It is in the Roman, Sarum, York, Aberdeen, Paris of 1643, and other Breviaries—-the Sarum use being at 1st Vespers and at Matins in the common of many martyrs… [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

Rex gloriose martyrum is the hymn for Lauds and 2nd Vespers for all "feasts of several martyrs" - but on this day it is sung to the same tune as A solis ortus cardine, the Lauds & 2nd Vespers hymn from the Christmas Office (that's this tune (mp3), although not those words).   Here's the chant score:

LLPB calls this 6th-Century hymn "A hymn about the Martrys (O Glorious King of Martyr Hosts)"; here are the English words, from Oremus:
O glorious King of martyr hosts,
thou crown that each confessor boasts,
who leadest to celestial day
the saints who cast earth's joys away.

Thine ear in mercy, Savior, lend,
while unto thee our prayers ascend;
and as we count their triumphs won,
forgive the sins that we have done.

Martyrs in thee their triumphs gain,
confessors grace from thee obtain;
we sinners humbly seek to thee,
from sins offense to set us free.

All laud to God the Father be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to God the holy Paraclete.

This may be the Latin text; it comes from a CPDL page about a Victoria motet of the same name:
Rex gloriose Martyrum
corona confitentium,
qui respuentes terrea
perducis ad coelestia.

Tu vincis in martyribus

parcisque Confessoribus:
Tu vince nostra crimina,
largitor indulgentiae.

Aurem benignam protinus

appone nostris vocibus
trophea sacra pangimus
ignosce quod deliquimus.

Gloria tibi Domine

qui surrexisti a mortuis
cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
in sempiterna saecula.
Amen. offers these manuscript notes:
Rex gloriose martyrum. [Common of Martyrs.] Probably of the 6th century. Included in the Bern manuscript 455 of the 10th century; in a manuscript of the 11th century, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (391, p. 273); and in four manuscripts of the 11th century, in the British Museum (Vesp. D. xii. f. 106; Jul. A. vi. f. 64 b; Harl. 2961 f. 248; Add. 30851 f. 152 b); and in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, is printed from an 11th century manuscript at Durham (B. iii. 32 f. 38 h). Also in an 11th century manuscript at St. Gall, No. 414; and in the Roman, Sarum, York, Aberdeen, and other Breviaries. The printed text is also in Mone, No. 732 ; Daniel, i., No. 237, and iv. p. 139; Cardinal Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865; G. M. Dreves's Hymnarius Moissiacensis, 1888, from a 10th century manuscript, &c. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
And the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia says that:
The hymn is of uncertain date and unknown authorship, Mone (Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, III, 143, no. 732) ascribing it to the sixth century and Daniel (Thesaurus Hymnologicus, IV, 139) to the ninth or tenth century. The Roman Breviary text is a revision, in the interest of Classical prosody, of an older form (given by Daniel, I, 248). The corrections are: terrea instead of terrena in the line "Qui respuentes terrena"; parcisque for parcendo in the line "Parcendo confessoribus"; inter Martyres for in Martyribus in the line "Tu vincis in Martyribus"; "Largitor indulgentiæ" for the line "Donando indulgentiam". A non-prosodic correction is intende for appone in the line "Appone nostris vocibus". Daniel (IV, 139) gives the Roman Breviary text, but mistakenly includes the uncorrected line "Parcendo confessoribus". lie places after the hymn an elaboration of it in thirty-two lines, found written on leaves added to a Nuremberg book and intended to accommodate the hymn to Protestant doctrine. This elaborated form uses only lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 of the original. Two of the added strophes may be quoted here to illustrate the possible reason (but also a curious misconception of Catholic doctrine in the apparent assumption of the lines) for the modification of the original hymn:
Velut infirma vascula Ictus inter lapideos Videntur sancti martyres, Sed fide durant fortiter. Non fidunt suis meritis, Sed sola tua gratia Agnoscunt se persistere In tantis cruciatibus.

Better known than either of those hymns in relation to this day on the Calendar, though, is Coventry Carol. Wikipedia has this:
The "Coventry Carol" is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew. The carol refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed. The lyrics of this haunting carol represent a mother's lament for her doomed child. It is the only carol that has survived from this play.
See the words, again from Wikipedia, below the video.


The only manuscript copy to have survived into recent times was burnt in 1875.[2] Our knowledge of the lyrics is therefore based on two very poor quality transcriptions from the early nineteenth century, and there is considerable doubt about many of the words. Some of the transcribed words are difficult to make sense of: for example, in the last verse "And ever morne and may For thi parting Neither say nor singe" is not clear. Various modern editors have made different attempts to make sense of the words, so such variations may be found as "ever mourn and say", "every morn and day", "ever mourn and sigh". The following is one attempted reconstruction.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

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

This is Lucas Van Valckenborch's "Masscre of the Innocents, painted in around 1580 - about the same time as Coventry Carol was written.

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