Nec Putet in Tumulo Virginis Alma Caro

St Etheldreda's Church, Ely, in which is a shrine containing relics of the saint.
St Etheldreda’s Church, Ely, in which is a shrine containing relics of the saint.

UIDETUR oportunum huic historiae etiam hymnum uirginitatis inserere, quem ante annos plurimos in laudem ac praeconium eiusdem reginae ac sponsae Christi, et ideo ueraciter reginae, quia sponsae Christi, elegiaco metro conposuimus; et imitari morem sacrae scripturae, cuius historiae carmina plurima indita, et haec metro ac uersibus constat esse conposita.

Alma Deus Trinitas, quae saecula cuncta gubernas,
Adnue iam coeptis, alma Deus Trinitas.
Bella Maro resonet, nos pacis dona canamus;
Munera nos Christi, bella Maro resonet.
Carmina casta mihi, fedae non raptus Helenae;
Luxus erit lubricis, carmina casta mihi.
Dona superna loquar, miserae non proelia Troiae;
Terra quibus gaudet, dona superna loquar.
En Deus altus adit uenerandae uirginis aluum,
Liberet ut homines, en Deus altus adit.
Femina uirgo parit mundi deuota parentem,
Porta Maria Dei, femina uirgo parit.
Gaudet amica cohors de uirgine matre tonantis;
Uirginitate micans gaudet amica cohors.
Huius honor genuit casto de germine plures,
Uirgineos flores huius honor genuit.
Ignibus usta feris, uirgo non cessit Agathe,
Eulalia et perfert, ignibus usta feris.
Kasta feras superat mentis pro culmine Tecla,
Eufemia sacras kasta feras superat. 
Laeta ridet gladios ferro robustior Agnes,
Caecilia infestos laeta ridet gladios.
Multus in orbe uiget per sobria corda triumphus,
Sobrietatis amor multus in orbe uiget.
Nostra quoque egregia iam tempora uirgo beauit;
Aedilthryda nitet nostra quoque egregia.
Orta patre eximio, regali et stemmate clara,
Nobilior Domino est, orta patre eximio.
Percipit inde decus reginae, et sceptra sub astris,
Plus super astra manens, percipit inde decus.
Quid petis, alma, uirum, sponso iam dedita summo?
Sponsus adest Christus; quid petis, alma, uirum?
Regis ut aetherei matrem iam credo sequaris,
Tu quoque sis mater regis ut aetherei.
Sponsa dicata Deo bis sex regnauerat annis,
Inque monasterio est sponsa dicata Deo.
Tota sacrata polo celsis ubi floruit actis,
Reddidit atque animam tota sacrata polo.
Uirginis alma caro est tumulata bis octo Nouembres,
Nec putet in tumulo uirginis alma caro.
Xriste, tui est operis, quia uestis et ipsa sepulchro
Inuiolata nitet: Xriste, tui est operis.
Ydros et ater abit sacrae pro uestis honore,
Morbi diffugiunt, ydros et ater abit.
Zelus in hoste furit, quondam qui uicerat Euam;
Uirgo triumphat ouans, zelus in hoste furit.
Aspice, nupta Deo, quae sit tibi gloria terris;
Quae maneat caelis, aspice, nupta Deo.
Munera laeta capis, festiuis fulgida taedis,
Ecce uenit sponsus, munera laeta capis.
Et noua dulcisono modularis carmina plectro,
Sponsa hymno exultas et noua dulcisono.
Nullus ab altithroni comitatu segregat agni,
Quam affectu tulerat nullus ab altithroni.

— Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Book IV, Chapter XX, Venerable Bede.

* * *

I THINK it proper to insert in this history a hymn of virginity, which I composed in elegiac verse several years ago, in praise and honour of the same queen and spouse of Christ; and therefore truly a queen, because the spouse of Christ; and to imitate the method of the Holy Scripture, in whose history many poetical pieces are inserted, which are known to be composed in metre.

Hail, Triune Power, who rulest every age,
Assist the numbers which my pen engage.
Let Maro wars in loftier numbers sing,
I sound the praises of our heavenly King.
Chaste is my verse, nor Helen’s rape I write;
Light tales like these, but prove the mind as light.
See I from on high the God descends, confined
In Mary’s womb, to rescue lost mankind.
Behold I a spotless maid a God brings forth,
A God is born, who gave e’en nature birth I
The virgin­choir the mother­maid resound,
And chaste themselves, her praises shout around.
Her bright example numerous vot’ries raise,
Tread spotless paths, and imitate her ways.
The blessed Agatha and Eulalia trust
Sooner to flames than far more dangerous lust.
Tecula and chaste Euphemia overcame
The fear of beasts to save a virgin name.
Agnes and sweet Cecilia, joyful maids,
Smile while the pointed sword their breasts invades.
Triumphing joy attends the peaceful soul,
Where heat, nor rain, nor wishes mean control.
Thus Etheldrida, pure from sensual crime,
Bright shining star I arose to bless our time.
Born of a regal race, her sire a king,
More noble honour to her lord shall bring.
A queen her name, her hand a sceptre rears,
But greater glories wait above the spheres.
What man wouldst thou desire? See Christ is made
Her spouse, her blessed Redeemer weds the maid.
While you attend the heavenly Mother’s train,
Thou shalt be mother of a heavenly reign.
The holy maid who twelve years sat a queen,
A cloister’d nun devote to God was seen.
Noted for pious deeds, her spotless soul
Left the vile world, and soar’d above the pole.
Sixteen Novembers since was the blest maid
Entomb’d, whose flesh no putrid damps invade.
Thy grace, O Christ I for in the coffin’s found
No tainted vest wrapping the corpse around.
The swelling dropsy, and dire atrophy,
A pale disease from the blest vestments fly.
Rage fires the fiend, who whilom Eve betray’d,
While shouting angels hail the glorious maid.
See I wedded to her God, what joy remains,
In earth, or heaven, see ! with her God she reigns !
Behold I the spouse, the festal torches shine,
He comes! behold I what joyful gifts are thine !
Thou a new song on the sweet harp shalt sing,
A hymn of praise to thy celestial King.
None from the flock of the throned Lamb shall move,
Whom grateful passion bind, and heavenly love.

— Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Book IV, Chapter XX, Venerable Bede.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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