Monday, May 06, 2013

A Rogation Days processional hymn: Ardua spes mundi (Ratpert († c.890))

The hymn Ardua spes mundi was apparently sung at Rogation Day processions, according to David Hiley's Western Plainchant. (The Rogation Days are the three weekdays prior to Ascension Day; we're in the middle of them now.)

Here is a recording of the hymn; Dominique Vellard conducts the Ensemble Gilles Binchois:

In a section on "Processional Hymns" (note that "versus" is another word for "hymn"), Hiley says:
Ratpert's Ardua spes mundi may serve as an example of the St. Gall versus....In the Rouen Cathedral manuscript (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, lat. 904, thirteenth century), from which [the illustration] is transcribed, both Ardua spes and Humili prece are sung in the procession before Mass on the Rogation Days leading up to Ascension Day (the weekdays following the fifth Sunday after Easter). In both chants, verses in honor of Rouen saints are added to those already present; Ardua spes invokes Romanus and Audoenus.  The same melody is used for the refrain and the strophes (some other processional hymns have two different melodies).
Other examples of "processional hymns" cited by Hiley are the more well-known Pange lingua and Crux fideles.  "Ratpert," who wrote this text, was a monk of St. Gall and a composer of liturgical poetry; according to BrillOnline, Ratpert:
(after 850 – before 912), was educated at Saint Gall Abbey and lived there as monk and teacher until his death. In the Middle Ages he was known as the author of liturgical poems in Latin, especially an All Saints Day litany. His Old High German Galluslied now survives only in the Latin retro-translation by Ekkehard IV. His Casus sancti Galli form the prelude to the Saint Gall house chronicle that was continued up to the 13th century.

These, I believe, are all the Latin words to Ardua spes mundi; they were incredibly hard to find!  Spes mundi is "hope of the world" - and Google Translate says that Ardua spes mundi translates as "towering hope of the world."  No English translation yet; working on it.

Ardua spes mundi solidator & incliti Coeli; Christe exaudi nos propitius samulos. Ardua spes mundi.

Virgo Dei genitrix rutilans in honore perennis Ora pro famulis sancta Maria tuis. Ardua spes mundi.

Angele summe Dei Michahel míserescito nostri Adiuvet & Gabrihel atque pius Raphahel. Ardua.

Aspice nos omnes clemens baptista lohannes. Petreque cum Paulo nos rege doctiloquo. Ardua.

Coetus apostolicus sit nobis sautor & omnis Ac parriarcharum propheticusque corus. Ardua.

Poscere nunc Stephanum studeamus carmine summunt

   Ut cum martyribus nos iuvet ipse pius. Ardua.

lnclyte Laurenti qui fiammas exuperasti

   Victor ab etherio nos miserere choro. Ardua.

Care Deo martyr patriae decus huius herile.

   Sancte Albane tuis esto savens meriris. Ardua.

Victor, Alexander meritis utrique beati

  Nobis orate de Domino veniam. Ardua.

Splendide Silvester Gregorie sancte magister.

  Nos quoque cum sociis serte iuvando polis. Ard.

O Martine De¡ conseil'or summe sacerdos

  Gemma sacerdotum auxilium ser ymon. Ardua.

O Benedicte Parer monachorum Galleque frater

  Cum reliquís Sanctis nos refovete polis. Ardua.

Maximo de Francis superis coniuncte catervis

  Sancte Othmare tuum laetifica populum. Ard.

lnclite Magne tuam clemens nunc inspice plebem

   Pontifices fidos ac reliquos famulos. Ardua.

Virgineos flores Agnes Agathesque ferentes

   Auxilio vestris addite nos soclis. Ardua.

His Waldburga comes nostras pia suscipe voces

  Nos & cum Dno protege sancta polo. Ardua.

Innocuos pueros resonemus laude peraclos

  Qui modo nos pueros dant resonare melos. Ard.

Omnes o sancti nostra succurrite vita!

Perque crucem sanctam salva nos Xpe redemror.  Omnes.

lra deque tua clemens nos eripe Christe. Omnes.

Nos peccatores audi te Christe rogamus. Omnes.

Ut pacem nobis dones te Christe rogamus. Omnes.

Crimen ut omne tuis solvas te Xpe rogamus. Oms.

Aurae ut temperiem dones te Xpe rogamus. Oms.

Ut fruges terrae dones te Xpe rogamus. Omnes.

Ut populum cunctum salves te Xpe rogamus. Oms.

Ecclesiamque tuam firmes te Xpe rogamus. Oms.

Fili celsithroni nos audi Christe rogamus. Omnes.

Agne Dei Patris nobis miserere pusillis. Omnes.

Christe exaudi nos o Kyrie ymon eleyson. Omnes.

The image in the YouTube video is from the St. Gall manuscript; below  are screenshots from that same manuscript of all four pages of this hymn.

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