The Nard of Bernard’s Sanctity

The Lactation of Saint Bernard, c. 1480, oil on panel, 15.4 × 10.2 inches, Curtius Museum, Liège, Belgium.
The Lactation of Saint Bernard, c. 1480, oil on panel, 15.4 × 10.2 inches, Curtius Museum, Liège, Belgium.


Iam Regína discúbuit,
Sedens post Unigénitum:
Nardus odórem tríbuit,
Bernárdus, tradens spíritum.
The Queen of Heaven reclines,
Seated after the Only-Begotten Son.
Bernard, yielding up his spirit,
Proffers her the perfume of spikenard.
Dulcis Regínæ gústui
Fructus sui suávitas:
Dulcis eius olfáctui
Nardi Bernárdi sánctitas.
Sweet to the Queen’s taste
Is the fruit of her delight.
Sweet to her nostrils
Is the nard of Bernard’s sanctity.
Venit Sponsa de Líbano
Coronánda divínitus,
Ut Bernárdus de clíbano
Veníret Sancti Spíritus.
She, the spouse, comes from Lebanon
to be divinely crowned,
So that Bernard may come forth
From the furnace of the Holy Spirit.
Quæ est ista progrédiens
Velut auróra rútilans?
Quis est iste transíliens
Colles, sanctis coniúbilans?
Who is she who goes forth,
Dazzling as the dawn?
Who is he who comes leaping upon the hills,
Exulting with the saints?
Hæc glória terríbilis
Sicut castrórum ácies:
Hic grátia mirábilis
Ut Assuéri fácies.
Terrible is her glory
As an army in battle array.
Wonderful is his grace
As the face of Assuerus.
Ora pro nobis Dóminum,
Prædúlcis fumi vírgula:
Inclína Patrem lúminum,
Pastor ardens ut fácula.
Pray for us to the Lord,
Thou pillar of aromatic smoke.
Incline to us the Father of Lights,
Thou shepherd, glowing like a flaming torch.
Sit Trinitáti glória,
Per quam triúmphus Vírginis
Et Bernárdi felícitas
Manent in cæli cúria.  Amen.
Glory be to the Trinity,
Through Whom the triumph of the Virgin
And the joy of Bernard remain forever
in the sacred courts of Heaven.  Amen.

— Vespers Hymn in Alternative Office of St. Bernard as given in the Monastic Diurnal (1963);
evidently from the Cistercian Breviary.


Published by 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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