Altus Prosator “F”

Ceiling of the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, with Seraphim mosaics on pendentives of the main dome.

CAPITULUM F

TITLE: De laude Dei ab angelis in quarta feria dicentes Sanctus
Sanctus Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

ARGUMENT: ‘Quando feci celum et terram collaudaverunt me
angeli’; ut in Sapientia Salomonis dicitur.

Factis simul sideribus
etheris luminaribus
collaudaverunt angeli
factura praemirabili
immensae molis dominum
opificem celestium
preconia laudabile
debito et immobile
concentuque egregio
grates egerunt domino
amore et arbitrio
non naturae donario.

STANZA F

When together, æther’s wonder,
Shine the Stars, the Angels sing;
To th’ Immensity’s Designer,
Host on host, their anthems ring:
Songs right meet for adoration,
Glorious harmonies they raise;
Since they move not from their courses
Never-ending is their praise.
Noble concert in the highest
Is their offering full and free:—
‘Tis of love’s sincerest rapture
Not of natural decree.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Altus Prosator “E”

Creation of Adam (Vr) from Liber Chronicarum (the Nuremberg Chronicle).

CAPITULUM E

TITLE: De creatione elementorum mundi et hominis regentis ea
postea more regis
.

ARGUMENT: ‘In principio fecit Deus celum et terram’ ut in
Genesi dicitur
.–(Gen. i. 1.)

Excelsus mundi machinam
previdens et armoniam
caelum et terram fecerat
mare et aquas condidit
herbarum quoque germina
virgultorum arbuscula
solem lunam ac sidera
ignem ac necessaria
aves pisces et peccora
bestias et animalia
hominum demum regere
protoplastum praesagmine.

STANZA E

God, the Lord Most High, foreseeing
Nature’s concord full and sweet.
Moulded Heaven and Earth and Ocean
To one harmony complete:
Sprang the grasses, fair unfolding.
Copses burgeoned in the sun:
Beamed the sunlight, starlight, moonlight,
Firelight: all of need was done–
Birds for brake, and fish for waters.
Wild or tame kine for the sward–
Last, the highest, first created,
Man, Creation’s crown and lord.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

A Bulwark Never Failing

THE XLVI. PSALME OF DAVID.
Deus noster refugium.

Oure God is a defence and towre,
A good armoure and good weapē;
He hath been ever oure helpe and sucoure,
In all the troubles that we have ben in.
Therfore wyl we never drede,
For any wonderous dede
By water or by londe,
In hillis or the see sōde;
Oure God hath them al in his hōd.

Though we be alwaye greatly vexed
With many a great tentacyon;
Yet, thanked be God, we are refreshed,
His swete worde conforteth oure mansion.
It is God’s holy place;
He dwelleth here by grace;
Amonge us is he
Both nyght and daye truly;
He helpeth us all, and that swyftly.

The wicked heithen besege us straytly,
And many great kyngdomes take theyr parte,
They are gathered agaynst us truly,
And arc sore moved in theyr herte.
But God’s worde as cleare as daye
Maketh them shrenke alwaye.
The Lorde God of power
Stondeth by us every houre;
The God of Jacob is oure stronge towre.

Come hether now, beholde, and so
The noble actes and dedes of the Lorde;
What great thynges he doth for us daylye,
And conforteth us with his swete worde.
For whan oure enemyes wolde fyght,
Than brake he theyr myght,
Theyr bowe and theyr speare,
So that we nede not feare,
And brent theyr charettes in the fyre.

Therfore, sayeth God, take hede to me,
Let me alone, and I shall helpe you.
Knowe me for youre God, I saye onely,
Amonge all heithen that reigne now.
Wherfore than shulde we drede,
Seyenge we have no nede?
For the Lorde God of power
Stondeth by us every houre;
The God of Jacob is our stronge towre.

— Rev. George Pearson, B. D., ed. (for Parker Society), Remains of Myles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter, Ghostly Psalms and Spiritual Songs, Cambridge: The University Press, 1846.

Of Columcille and Pope Gregory

The Holy Ghost, depicted as a dove (columba), inspiring Pope St. Gregory the Great's dictation of the Gregorian Chant, Antiphonary of Hartker of the monastery of Saint Gall (Cod. Sang. 390, p. 13).
The Holy Ghost, depicted as a dove (columba), inspiring Pope St. Gregory the Great’s dictation of the Gregorian Chant, Antiphonary of Hartker of the monastery of Saint Gall (Cod. Sang. 390, p. 13).

Brandubh was killed on the morrow, and demons carried off his soul into the air. And Maedhog [abbot of Ferns] heard the wail of his soul as it was undergoing pain, while he was with the reapers. And he went into the air, and began to battle with the demons. And they passed over Hy; and Columkille heard them while he was writing; and he stuck the style [graib, graphium] into his cloak, and went to the battle to the aid of Maedhog, in defence of Brandubh’s soul. And the battle passed over Rome, and the style fell out of Columkille s cloak, and dropped in front of Gregory, who took it up in his hand. Columkille followed the soul of Brandubh to heaven. When he reached it, the congregation of heaven were at Celebration, namely, Te decet hymnus, and Benedic anima mea, and Laudate pueri Dominum; and this is the beginning of the Celebration of heaven. Columbkille did the same as the people of heaven. And they brought Brandubh’s soul back to his body again. Columbkille tarried with Gregory; and brought away Gregory’s brooch [dealc] with him, and it is the hereditary brooch [delg aidechta, literally testamentary brooch, being an heirloom in Hy, as the clog an eadhachta, or testamentary boll, was in Armagh] of the coarb of Columkille to this day. And he left his style with Gregory. ”

Lib. Lecan, fol. 183 a., quoted in Reeves’ Life of St. Columba, 1874.

The legend is transferred from the Irish original in Manus O’Donnell’s Life:

By reason of that curse and of the promise that Columcille had made them that whoever misprized them, he would cut off his life, it befell that Brandubh came not further into Leth Cuinn, and in that same hosting was slain, and devils bare his soul up into the air with them, and they were tormenting it there.

And in that time Maedhog was with the reapers that were cutting corn for him. And he heard the cry of the soul in torment, and by the power of God he went up into the air after the demons. And he was battling with them for the soul of Brandubh.

And they came above Iona of Columcille in Alba. Columcille was writing at that time, and an angel of God revealed the thing to him. And he grieved for the soul in torment, albeit he it was himself that had obtained from God that the life of Brandubh should be cut off because he had not taken the counsel of the holy men of his household forementioned touching the making of peace with Leth Cuinn. And he fastened his cloak with his brooch, and leaped into the air to aid Maedhog to save the soul of Brandubh from the demons. And they were struggling thus until they came above Rome. The brooch of Columcille fell out of his mantle, and dropped to the ground before Pope Gregory. Gregory lifted it and recognized it. Soon the devils rose passing high into the air, fleeing before Columcille. Columcille followed them and went higher above into the ether, so that he heard the singing of the heavenly household. And these were the first words of the psalms they were singing in praise of the Lord: “Te decet u.,” and “Benedic a. m.,” and “Laudate pueri.

And Columcille caused his holy men and monks to recite them at the beginning of their office and singing from that time on. And Columcille obtained from God that the soul of Brandubh, that was all that time in torment from the demons, should be restored to his body again, and that he should repent of his crime, and be a good servant to God and to Columcille thenceforth, and should receive the sacrament from the hands of Maedhog Ferna in the hour of his death as he had promised him.

Columcille went to Gregory for his brooch. But the Pope kept it for himself and left his own brooch to Columcille afterward. And right marvelous were to Gregory the height of gifts, and the wealth of graces, and the multitude of miracles that God granted Columcille to do in that time. And afterward Columcille went back to Iona, and there he left that brooch of Pope Gregory’s to his successor in Iona in witness and in sign of these great miracles.

— Betha Colaim Chille, 219.

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.

 

Altus Prosator “C”

The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

CAPITULUM C

TITLE: De transmigratione novem graduum principis.
ARGUMENT: ‘Vidi stellam de celo cecidisse in terram’; et in Esaiâ, ‘Quomodo cecidisti Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris.’

CELI de regni apice
stationis angelicae
claritate prefulgoris
venustate speciminis
superbiendo ruerat
lucifer quem formaverat
apostataeque angeli
eodem lapsu lugubri
auctoris ceno-doxiae
pervicacis invidiae
ceteris remanentibus
in suis principatibus.

PRONE, from splendour of that kingdom
Where GOD’S angels crown the height,
From all loveliness of beauty
All transcendency of light,
Lucifer, by GOD created,
Fell by his vainglorious pride—
Fell by envy still persisting,
Fell with all his host allied,
From the same high place apostate
In the same sad ruin prone,—
While the faithful angel princes
Kept their state before the Throne.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

Altus Prosator “B”

CAPITULUM B

Title: De formatione novem graduum, tribus praetermissis, non per ignorantiam, sed pro augustia capituli praetermisit.
Argument: ‘Fiat lux, et facto, est.’

BONOS creavit angelos
ordines et archangelos
principatuum ac sedium
potestatum virtutium
uti non esset bonitas
otiosa ac maiestas
trinitatis in omnibus
largitatis muneribus
sed haberet celestia
in quibus previgilia
ostenderet magnopere
possibili fatimine.

ALL good angels and archangels,
Powers and Principalities,
Virtues, Thrones, His will created—
Grades and orders of the skies,
That the majesty and goodness
Of the Blessed TRINITY
In its ever bounteous largesse
Never might inactive be;
Having thus wherewith to glory,
All the wide world might adore
The high Godhead’s sole-possession
Everywhere and evermore.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

Altus Prosator “A”

CAPITULUM A

Title: De unitate et Trinitate trium personarum.
Argument: Vetustus dierum sedebat super sedem suam. (Daniel vii. 9.)

ALTUS prosator vetustus
dierum et ingenitus
erat absque origine
primordii et crepidine
est et erit in secula
seculorum infinita
cui est unigenitus
christus et sanctus spiritus
coeternus in gloria
dietatis perpetuae
non tris deos depromimus
sed unum deum dicimus
salva fide in personis
tribus gloriosissimis.

HIGH CREATOR Unbegotten,
Ancient of Eternal days,
Unbegun ere all beginning,
Him the world’s one source we praise:
GOD who is and GOD who shall be:
All that was and is before:
Him with CHRIST the Sole-Begotten,
And the SPIRIT we adore,
Co-eternal one in glory,
Evermore and evermore:–
Not Three Gods are,
They we worship,
But the THREE which are the ONE,
GOD in Three most glorious Persons:–
Other saving Faith is none.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

Customary of OLW

Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham: Daily Prayer for the Ordinariate.

My copy of the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham just arrived. I look forward to inspecting it in great detail in the coming days. As I understand it, the book, though it bears the Imprimatur of Msgr. Keith Newton, the Ordinary, is a private work, not permitted for public worship, nor was it compiled in concert with Anglicanae Traditiones, the commission charged with developing the official liturgical texts for the Ordinariates. Even so, being (wholly?) the product of Msgr. Andrew Burnham, it should prove quite enlightening and edifying.