Gaude Mater Polonia

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Gaude Mater Polonia (Polish, "Rejoice, oh Mother Poland") was probably the most popular medieval Polish anthem, written in the 13th–14th century in memory of Saint Stanisław Szczepanowski, Bishop of Kraków. Polish knights used to sing it after victory in battle, presumably to one of the Gregorian melodies associated with the Eucharistic hymn, O Salutaris Hostia, on which it is based.

History[edit]

The anthem came to existence in 1253, along with the canonisation of Stanisław Szczepanowski on 8 September in Assisi; Stanisław died a martyr's death on 11 April 1079.[1] The author of the anthem is the first Polish composer in music history known by name, the poet Vincent of Kielcz, OP, a Cracovian canon and chaplain of Bishop Iwo Odrowąż. For a long time he was mistakenly called Vincent of Kielce,[2] and he wrote the hymn to commemorate the canonisation of St Stanisław. It is assumed that the first performance of the piece took place on 8 May 1254, during the canonisation ceremonies in Kraków.[3]

Vincent wrote The History of St. Stanislas in Latin (Dies adet celebris). The poet decided to describe the life and accomplishments of Bishop Stanisław and the miracles which occurred after his death, which people had been speaking of for almost two centuries. The legend says that after the body of St. Stanisław was cut into pieces, the parts miraculously regrouped and formed the whole body again, while eagles circled in the sky. This was an allegory of the current state of Poland in those years: split into pieces but hoping to grow back together to form a country again. The uniting of Poland occurred a couple years after the canonization of St. Stanisław under the rule of King Władysław I the Elbow-high.[4]

Within the History, which contained sung elements, the part Gaude, Mater Polonia was after a time recognised as an independent piece. Throughout the years, it eventually became the royal anthem under the Piast Dynasty.[4] The anthem became a part of Polish tradition and history, being sung during the coronation of the Polish monarch, royal marriages, as well as during celebrations of the 1683 victory of John III Sobieski in Vienna. Kings and military commanders gave thanks for their successes by singing the anthem after battle. The melody has been popular for almost 750 years, in which it has since become a key element of Polish culture. Today it is sung at most universities for the inauguration of the academic year as well as during important national holidays.

Music[edit]

From a musical view, Gaude, Mater Polonia holds a unique melodic line that does not resemble any known in other Latin anthems. Its melody has a symmetrical structure, of an arc or bow type, making it a story-type melody that is characteristic of folk songs. It has an overjoyed yet proud character. Some sources say that the inspiration for the melody was the anthem to Saint Dominic, Gaude Mater Ecclesia ("Rejoice, oh Mother Church"), having its roots with Italian Dominicans.[5]

It is most commonly sung in the arrangement of Teofil Tomasz Klonowski (1805–1876). This arrangement is written for a four-voice, mixed choir, with the melody being captured in a four measure phrase. Although no longer the national anthem, it often accompanies ceremonies of national and religious importance.

Lyrics[edit]

Gaude Mater Polonia
O ciesz się, Matko-Polsko

Latin Polish English
Gaude, mater Polonia, O ciesz się, Matko-Polsko, w sławne Rejoice, oh Mother Poland
prole fæcunda nobili. Potomstwo płodna! Króla królów Rich in noble offspring,
Summi Regis magnalia I najwyższego Pana wielkość To the Highest King render
laude frequenta vigili. Uwielbiaj chwałą przynależną. Worship with incessant praise.

Cuius benigna gratia Albowiem z Jego łaskawości For by His benign grace
Stanislai Pontificis Biskupa Stanisława męki Bishop Stanislaw's torments,
passionis insignia Niezmierne, jakie on wycierpiał, so great, which he had suffered
signis fulgent mirificis. Jaśnieją cudownymi znaki. Shine with marvelous signs.

Hic certans pro iustitia, Potykał się za sprawiedliwość, Here contending for justice,
Regis non-cedit furiæ: Przed gniewem króla nie ustąpił: He did not yield before the anger of the king:
Stat pro plebis iniuria I staje żołnierz Chrystusowy And stands the soldier of Christ,
Christi miles in acie. Za krzywdę ludu sam do walki. Alone to fight for the injury of the people.

Tyranni truculentiam, Ponieważ stale wypominał Because he constantly reminded
Qui dum constanter arguit, On okrucieństwo tyranowi, The tyrant of his brutality,
Martyrii victoriam Koronę zdobył męczennika, He gained the crown of a martyr,
Membratim cæsus meruit. Padł posiekany na kawałki. And fell quartered into pieces.

Novum pandit miraculum Niebiosa nowy cud zdziałały, The Heavens wrought a new miracle,
Splendor in sancto ceritus, Bo mocą swą Niebieski Lekarz For the Celestial Physician by His power
Redintegrat corpusculum Poćwiartowane jego ciało The martyr's quartered body
Sparsum cælestis medicus. Przedziwne znowu w jedno złączył. Once more miraculously joined into whole.

Sic Stanislaus pontifex Tak to Stanisław biskup przeszedł Thus did bishop Stanislaus enter
Transit ad caeli curiam, W przybytki Króla niebieskiego, Into the Court of the Celestial King,
Ut apud Deum opifex Aby u Boga Stworzyciela That he may at God, the Creator's, side
Nobis imploret veniam. Nam wyjednać przebaczenie. Beg forgiveness for us.

Poscentes eius merita, Gdy kto dla zasług jego prosi, When whosoever by his merits pleads,
Salutis dona referunt: Wnet otrzymuje zbawcze dary: Soon receives the saving gifts:
Morte præventi subita Ci, co pomarli nagłą śmiercią, Those who died a sudden death,
Ad vitae potum redeunt. Do życia znowu powracają. To life return once more.

Cuius ad tactum anuli Choroby wszelkie pod dotknięciem All diseases at the touch
Morbi fugantur turgidi: Pierścienia jego uciekają: Of his ring flee:
Ad locum sancti tumuli Przy jego świętym grobie zdrowie By his holy grace health
Multi curantur languidi. Niemocnych wielu odzyskuje. Is gained by the feeble.

Surdis auditus redditur, Słuch głuchym bywa przywrócony, Hearing returns to the mute,
Claudis gressus officum, A chromy kroki stawia raźno, While the lame boldly takes steps,
Mutorum lingua solvitur Niemowom język się rozwiązał, The tongues of the mutes are untied,
Et fugatur daemonium. W popłochu szatan precz ucieka. Satan flees in haste far away.

Ergo, felix Cracovia, A przeto szczęsny ty, Krakowie, Thus, you, o happy Cracow,
Sacro dotata corpore Uposażony świętym ciałem, Armed with saintly body,
Deum, qui fecit omnia, Błogosław po wsze czasy Boga, Bless for all eternity God,
Benedic omni tempore. Który z niczego wszystko stworzył. Who wrought all from naught.

Sit Trinitati gloria, Niech Trójcy Przenajświętszej zabrzmi May to Most Holy Trinity sound
Laus, honor, iubilatio: Cześć, chwała, sława, uwielbienie, Praise, glory, celebration, adoration,
De Martyris victoria A nam tryumfy męczennika And let the triumphs of the martyr
Sit nobis exsultatio. Niech wyjednają radość wieczną. Gain for us eternal bliss.
Amen Amen Amen


[6]

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