Thursday, January 03, 2013

Hostis Herodes impie: a 14th C. translation

From this page at the University of Alberta website:  Manuscript Studies: Paleographical Sample (Herebert).   It's part of a translation by William Herebert, OFM, of the Epiphany office hymn, Hostis Herodes impie, from the early 14th Century.

[H]Erodes þou wykked fo / whar of 'ys' þy dredinge·
And why art þou so sore a gast / of cristes tocominge·
Ne reueth hé nouth erthlich gód / þat maketh ous heuenekynges·

Þe kynges wenden here way and foleweden þe sterre·
And sothfast ly{yogh}th wyth sterre lyth souhten vrom so verre·
And sheuden wel þat he 'ys' god / in gold / and stor / and mírre·

Crist ycleped heuene lomb / so cóm to seynt Ion·
And of hym was ywas{yogh}e þa't' sunne nadde nón·
To halewen oure vollouth water þat sunne hauet uordon·

William Herebert, OFM (d. ca. 1333); "Hostis Herodes impie," (Index of Middle English Verse No. 1213); from British Library MS Addit. 46919, f. 205r (unique manuscript; author's holograph).

This is the first part of Friar Herebert's translation of a portion of Sedulius's Paean alphabeticus de Cristo, a hymn for Epiphany.

Note that space was left for a decorated initial letter at the start (with a small "h" occupying the space as a guide for the decorator), but the decorated initial was never completed. To the right are Latin tags which correspond to the initial phrases of the stanzas in the original Latin hymn: "Hostis herodes impie &c."; "Ibant magi"; "Lauacra puri gurgitis." Each stanza is preceded by a double inclined stroke (a sort of paraph mark to indicate the beginning of a stanza), and there are lines drawn at the end of the poetic lines to link together visually the rhyme words.
Here's something (that's a PDF file, Medieval Lyric: Middle English Lyrics, Ballads, and Carols, with an Appendix section titled "Poems by William Herebert, Richard Rolle, and John Audelay") about William Herebert:
Friar William Herebert, OFM, may have been born sometime after 1270 (when writing about medieval persons the biographer is often reduced to such subjunctives), and was between 1317 and 1319 Lecturer in Theology at the Franciscan House in Oxford where he was the author of 17 Middle English  poems (many adapted from hymns) and of a number of polished Latin sermons. He may well have been the friend and sometime colleague of the great medieval thinker, philosopher, and activist, the Franciscan William of Ockham (c.1285–1347), whose social attitudes and theological opinions, but not activist politics, he may have shared. Though the best source for Herebert’s later life was written in the sixteenth century, and is so very late, it accords with what little is known, and confirms that he died in or about 1333, and was buried at Hereford, which seems to have been his native convent.

Here's what the hymn sounds like, via the LLPB mp3 labeled "Hymn for the Epiphany of our Lord".  (See chant score #28 below for the notation.)  The words on this recording are taken from the Lutheran Hymnal;  as you can see, the text of Hostis Herodes impie is a clear demonstration that the Feast of the Epiphany has been for a long time a celebration of not just one but three "manifestations of Christ": the visitation of the Magi, Christ's baptism in the Jordan, and Christ's first miracle at Cana.
1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

A note at the Lutheran Hymnal says this:
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


No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...