Veni redemptor gentium

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Veni, redemptor gentium, text and Gregorian notation

"Veni redemptor gentium" (Come, Redeemer of the nations) is a Latin Advent or Christmas hymn by Ambrose in 88 88 iambic dimeter.[1] The hymn is assigned to the Office of Readings for Advent, from December 17 through December 24, in the Liturgy of the Hours.

History[edit]

The later hymn "Veni Creator Spiritus" borrows two lines from the hymn (Infirma nostri corporis — Virtute firmans perpeti). "Veni redemptor gentium" was particularly popular in Germany where Martin Luther translated it into German as "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," which then he, or possibly Johann Walter, set as a chorale, based on the original plainchant.[2] Luther adapted the original chant tune separately for each of three other hymns: "Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich", "Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort" and "Gib unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit".

In the mid-nineteenth century, John Mason Neale translated "Veni redemptor gentium" into English as "Come, thou Redeemer of the earth". It is often sung to the tune "Puer nobis nascitur" by Michael Praetorius.

In 1959, Dom Paul Benoit, OSB adapted the chant melody as the hymn tune CHRISTIAN LOVE, for use with the text "Where Charity and Love Prevail," Omer Westendorf's [3] common metre translation of the Holy Thursday hymn "Ubi caritas."[4]

Lyrics[edit]

Latin English

1. Veni, redemptor gentium;
ostende partum Virginis;
miretur omne saeculum:
talis decet partus Deum.

Come, thou Redeemer of the earth,
and manifest thy virgin-birth:
let every age adoring fall;
such birth befits the God of all.

2. Non ex virili semine,
Sed mystico spiramine
Verbum Dei factum caro
Fructusque ventris floruit.

Begotten of no human will,
But of the Spirit,
Thou art still The Word of God in flesh arrayed,
The promised fruit to men displayed.

3. Alvus tumescit Virginis,
Claustra pudoris permanent,
Vexilla virtutum micant,
Versatur in templo Deus.

The virgin womb that burden gained
With virgin honor all unstained;
The banners there of virtue glow;
God in His temple dwells below.

4. Procedens de thalamo suo,
Pudoris aula regia,
Gemine gigas substantiae,
Alacris ut currat viam.

Forth from His chamber goeth He,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in two-fold substance one,
Rejoicing now His course to run.

 5. Egressus ejus a Patre,
Regressus ejus ad Patrem:
Excursus usque ad inferos
Recursus ad sedem Dei.

From God the Father He proceeds,
To God the Father back He speeds;
His course He runs to death and hell,
Returning on God's throne to dwell.

6. Aequalis eterno Patri,
Carnis trophato accingere:
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti.

O equal to the Father,
Thou! Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.

7. Presepe jam fulget tuum,
Lumenque nox spirat novum,
Quod nulla nox interpolet,
Fideque jugi luceat.

Thy cradle here shall glitter bright
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene.

The metrical English translation was made by J. M. Neale.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christine Mohrmann Études sur le latin des chrétiens, vol. I, Le latin des chrétiens - Page 167 "Pour illustrer ce que j'ai dit, je citerai deux strophes de l'hymne de Noël de saint Ambroise, intitulé: Veni redemptor gentium: Veni redemptor gentium Ostende partum virginis Miretur omne saeculum Talis decet partus Deum. J'ai fait observer ...
  2. ^ Paul Westermeyer Let the People Sing: Hymn Tunes in Perspective 2005 Page 61 "Advent Ambrose's Advent hymn "Veni redemptor gentium," discussed in Chapter II, was well known in Germany. Luther translated it into German. Then he, or possibly Walter, simplified its chant tune, VENI REDEMPTOR GENTIUM, into the chorale tune that takes its German name from Luther's translation, NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND." For a comparison of the chorale tune to the original chant melody, see "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," Bach Cantatas Website, accessed 2014-08-27.
  3. ^ People's Mass Book (1970), Cincinnati, OH: World Library Publications, Hymn 121, p. 140, Omer Westendorf (1916-1997) under pen name "J. Clifford Evans."
  4. ^ See "Christian Love," Hymnary.org, accessed 2014-08-27.