Stabat Mater

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For other uses, see Stabat Mater (disambiguation).
For the hymn about the Nativity, see Stabat Mater Speciosa.

The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III.[1][2][3] The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater Dolorosa, which means "the sorrowful mother was standing".[4]

The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many Western composers, most famously by Palestrina (~1590), Vivaldi (1712), Domenico (1715) and Alessandro Scarlatti (1723), Pergolesi (1736), Joseph Haydn (1767), Rossini (1831-42), Dvořák (1876–77), Verdi (1896-97), Karol Szymanowski (1925–26), Poulenc (1950) and Arvo Pärt (1985).

Date[edit]

The Stabat mater is generally ascribed to Jacopo da Todi (ca. 1230-1306).

The Stabat Mater was well known by the end of the 14th century and Georgius Stella wrote of its use in 1388, while other historians note its use later in the same century. In Provence, about 1399, it was used during the nine days processions.[5]

As a liturgical sequence, the Stabat Mater was suppressed, along with hundreds of other sequences, by the Council of Trent, but restored to the missal by Pope Benedict XIII in 1727 for the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary.[6]

Text and translation[edit]

The following translation by Edward Caswall is not word-for-word. Instead it has been adapted so as to represent the meter (trochaic tetrameter), rhyme scheme, and sense of the original text.

Stabat mater dolorósa
juxta Crucem lacrimósa,
dum pendébat Fílius.

Cuius ánimam geméntem,
contristátam et doléntem
pertransívit gládius.

O quam tristis et afflícta
fuit illa benedícta,
mater Unigéniti!

Quae mœrébat et dolébat,
pia Mater, dum vidébat
nati pœnas ínclyti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si vidéret
in tanto supplício?

Quis non posset contristári
Christi Matrem contemplári
doléntem cum Fílio?

Pro peccátis suæ gentis
vidit Iésum in torméntis,
et flagéllis súbditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriéndo desolátum,
dum emísit spíritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris
fac, ut tecum lúgeam.

Fac, ut árdeat cor meum
in amándo Christum Deum
ut sibi compláceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifíxi fige plagas
cordi meo válide.

Tui Nati vulneráti,
tam dignáti pro me pati,
pœnas mecum dívide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifíxo condolére,
donec ego víxero.

Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociáre
in planctu desídero.

Virgo vírginum præclára,
mihi iam non sis amára,
fac me tecum plángere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passiónis fac consórtem,
et plagas recólere.

Fac me plagis vulnerári,
fac me Cruce inebriári,
et cruóre Fílii.

Flammis ne urar succénsus,
per te, Virgo, sim defénsus
in die iudícii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exíre,
da per Matrem me veníre
ad palmam victóriæ.

Quando corpus moriétur,
fac, ut ánimæ donétur
paradísi glória.

Amen.

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?

For the sins of His own nation,
She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:

She beheld her tender Child,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
be Thy Mother my defense,
be Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

Translation by Edward Caswall, Lyra Catholica (1849)

Musical settings[edit]

Main category: Stabat Mater settings

Notable composers who have written settings of the Stabat Mater include:

Franz Schubert composed two settings of the sequence, the G minor setting and the F minor setting.

Others, not listed above, include:

Most of the settings are in Latin, but Karol Szymanowski's and Paul Bebenek's are in Polish, although Szymanowski's may also be sung in Latin. George Oldroyd's setting is in Latin but includes an English translation for Anglican/Episcopalian use. The Alfeyev setting is in Russian.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sabatier, Paul Life of St. Francis Assisi Charles Scribner Press, NY, 1919, page 286
  2. ^ The seven great hymns of the Mediaeval Church by Charles Cooper Nott 1868 ASIN: B003KCW2LA page 96
  3. ^ p. 574, Alighieri, Durling, Martinez (2003) Dante, Robert M., Ronald L. Oxford The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio Volume 2 of The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri Oxford University Press. "The Stabat Mater by the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi."
  4. ^ Stabat Mater, Volume 68 by Girolamo Abos, Joseph Vella Bondin 2003 ISBN 0-89579-531-0 page xviii [1]
  5. ^ Catholic encyclopedia
  6. ^ Heartz, Daniel (1995). Haydn, Mozart and the Viennese School: 1740-1780. W.W. Norton & Co. p. 305. ISBN 0-393-03712-6. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 

External links[edit]