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From The Quarterly Review.

pass, rites change,” but religious emotion MEDIÆVAL HYMNS. *

endures; and the instincts of prayer and Not the least important side of the praise, so deeply rooted in man's nature, history of the Christian Church is writ. will ever find vent in metrical compositen in her hymns. It is with a hymn that tions; compositions which are their own the history opens, the sublime canticle of exceeding great reward to their authors, the Incarnation, “Magnificat anima mea

as well as their gifts to the spiritual treas. Dominum;” and in the Apocalyptic vis- ure-house of the human race. ion which presents the last glimpse of the Every religion has its hymns, and in City of God -- the scene not unworthily those hymns are to be found the truest adumbrated by the genius of the great indications of its real and essential charFlemish painter — the glorious company acter. Thus if we go back to the childgathered in adoration around the In-hood of the world, the Vedic songs of maculate Lamb have in their mouths “a our Aryan ancestors speak to us chiefly new song." The ages of the Christian of their deep, awestricken consciousness era are filled with the notes of praise from of a mysterious presence, alike manifestthe first until now; from the angelic ed and veiled by external nature, while “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” the hymn to the Hebrew psalms are instinct with that Christ as God," of which Pliny testifies, personal apprehension of a living and in primitive worship, down to the heart- true God, the creator and final end of the stirring strains with which the Wesleys worshipper, which is in truth the great woke England in the last century into new underlying idea of Judaism. Again, if spiritual life, and the verse with which we survey what is perhaps the latest creed Mr. Keble ushered in the great religious offered to a judicious public which labors revival of our own day.

Nor can

under an invincible need of believing, if doubt that so it will be in the generations we consider attentively that humanistic that shall come after, however altered the gospel which proclaims to the world "the condition of society or the position of dignity of man as a rational being apart ecclesiastical organizations.

61 Creeds

from theological determinations,” it is in

rhythmic utterances, such as those where. 1. Thesaurus Hymnologicus, sive Hymnorum with Mr. Swinburne invokes our Lady of Canticorum Sequentiarum circa annum md usitata- | Pain to "come down and redeem us from rum collectio amplissima. Carmina collegit, appa: virtue,” that we shall find the true key to ratu critico ornavit, veteruni interpretum notas selectas suasque adiecit Herm. Adalbert Daniel, Ph. its mysteries and the right interpretation Dr. Halis, 1851-1856. 5 vols.

of its aspirations. Our concern in this 2. Lateinische Hyinnen des Mittelalters, aus Handschriften herausgegeben und erklärt, von F. J. Mone, article is not, however, with devotional Director des Archivs zu Karlsruhe. Freiburg im poetry in general, nor even with the reBreisgau, 1853. 3 vols. 3. The Ecclesiastical Latin Poetry of the Middle but with one important branch of it, too

ligious verse of Christianity as a whole, * Ages. By John Mason Neale, D.D. (In Encyclopædia Metropolitana : History of Roman Literature.) little known and appreciated, the mediæval London, 1855.

hymns of the Latin Church : “that won. 4. Sequentiæ ex Missalibus Germanicis, Anglicis

; derful body of hymns," as Dean Church Gailicis, aliisque Medii Ævi, collecta. notulisque instruxit Joannes M. Neale, A.M., Collias justly termed them, “ to which age legii Sackvillensis Custos. London, MDCCCLIT. after age has contributed its offering,

S. The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St. Victor, from the Ambrosian hymns to the Veni from the Text of Gautier, with Translations into English in the Original Metres and short explana- Sancte Spiritus’ of a king of France, the tory Notes.

By Digby S. Wrangham, M.A., St. . Pange Lingua'of Thomas Aquinas, the John's College, Oxford, Vicar of Darrington, Yorkshire. 3 vols. London, 1881.

• Dies Iræ' and the Stabat Mater' of the 6. Sacred Latin Poetry, chiefly Lyrical, selected two Franciscan brethren, Thomas of Ceand arranged for use, with Notes and Introduction. lano and Jacopone.” † In speaking of these By Richard Chenevix Trench, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, and Chancellor of the Order of St. Patrick. Second Edition. London, 1864.

* The reader will find the subject of Hymnology 7. Mediæval Hymns and Sequences. Translated | treated as a whole in an article in the Living AGE, by the late Rev. J. M. Neale, D.D. Third Edition. third series, vol. xvii., No. 940, p. 451 seqq. London, MDCCCLXVII.

† Dante, an Essay by R. W. Church, p. 111.


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hymns as mediæval, we of course use the undertaking, our aim not being edification word in a large sease, for in strictness the but knowledge. It is as facts of history, mediæval periodi must be held to com- not ,as subjects of controversy, that we mence with the re-creation of the Roman shall view the feelings and beliefs which Empire by Pope Leo III., when, to use the inform the verse of those old mediæval words of his diploma, he “consecrated poets. as Augustus”* the great Frankish mon- And first let us glance at the principal arch on Christmas Day in the year Soo. sources which are open to us for the study But the definite beginnings of the Middle of the hymnology of the Middle Ages Ages, the visible germination and unfold. the books whose titles we have prefixed ing of the distinctive feelings, beliefs, to this article. Foremost among them practices, modes of life, embodied in the are the great collections of Daniel and new order, may certainly be clearly traced Mone, and of these the “ Thesaurus from the days of St. Ambrose and St. Hymnologicus” of the first-named writer Augustine, of Prudentius and Pope St. is the most complete: Dr. Neale justly Damasus. The sacred poetry with which reckons it worth all the older collections we are concerned is a peculiar feature and put together.* Next in order we may product of that order, growing gradually reckon Dr. Neale's “Dissertation on Ec. as it grew, developing as it developed, clesiastical Latin Poetry," which forms culminating when it culminated, declining part of the volume on Roman literature in when it declined; and supplies an impor- the “Encyclopædia Metropolitana,” his tant means for judging of it from an im- “Sequentiæ Medii Ævi," and the suppleportant point of view, we might indeed mentary series of “Sequentiæ Ineditæ,” say the most important. Religion, as M. published by him in the “ Ecclesiologist.” Edgar Quinet has somewhere observed, Then comes the edition of Adam of St. is the substance of humanity” creatively Victor, just given to the world by Mr. determining the character of the art, the Wrangham, with very close translations, literature, and political institutions of a regarding which it must here suffice to people. These hymns, then, as the natu- say that reproducing, as he does, the ral outcome and true expression of the metres and rhymes of the original, he has religion of the generations in which they achieved a signal measure of success in were composed, are of special value as an extremely arduous undertaking. Arch. documents of history, and it is thus that bishop Trench's volume of “Sacred Latin we propose to regard them in this article. Poetry," which stands sixth on our list, Our object is as far as possible removed although defective and therefore mislead. from that wherewith Archbishop Trench ing if taken as a specimen of mediæval compiled his admirable volume of “Sa- religious thought- a character which the cred Latin Poetry," of which we shall have compiler is far from attributing to it, and to say more presently. His aim there was indeed expressly disclaims for it — yet “to offer to members of our English comprises many hymns of the highest Church a collection . . . such as they merit. Its peculiar value, however, lies shall be able entirely and heartily to ac- in its introduction and notes. Nowhere cept and approve ;” and therefore he has Dr. Trench more conspicuously dis. rightly excluded from his compilation, not played the extent of his reading, the delionly poems which, in his opinion, “con cacy and grace of his literary touch, the tain positive error," but also any which acuteness of his critical faculty, than in he judges “to breathe a spirit foreign to this doctissimum elegantissimumque opus, that tone of piety which the English as Dr. Neale justly terms it, which may Church desires to cherish in her chil. truly be proposed as a model of judicious dren.” † We, on the contrary, entirely editing.t The seventh work wbich we put away theological tests in our present have enumerated is Dr. Neale's little vol.

ume of translations, where we have the * Quem, auctore Deo, in defensionem et provectum aniversæ S. Ecclesiae Augustum hodie sacravimus.

* Sequentiæ, etc., præfatio, p. viii. † Pref., p. v.

Sequentiæ ex Missalibus, præfatio, p. x.

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true text of his versions, many of which how unsparing his toil must have been have suffered grieviously from the makers will be best understood by any one who of hymn-books. Just a century ago John shall undertake a similar task — a task Wesley complained:

rendered more arduous by the rule to Many gentlemen have done my brother and

which, with one exception, he wisely adme, though without naming us, the honor to hered, of adopting the exact measure and reprint many of our hymns. Now they are rhyme of the original. But against his perfectly welcome to do so, provided they many excellencies must be set off one print them just as they are. But I desire they great blemish. It must be owned that would not attempt to mend them, for they bere, as elsewhere in his writings, there really are not able. None of them is able to is vein of disingenuousness, not to use mend either the sense or the verse.

a harsher' expression, which detracts Dr. Neale, in the preface to his third gravely from the value of his work. There edition, using a less high tone, acknowl

is much throughout every department of edges that, in some cases, the alterations the religious literature of the Middle of his reproducers have been improve Ages which is irreconcilable with any ments, but thinks tliat as a rule his would.

sane interpretation of the standards of be correctors have been misled by imper. Anglicanism., In dealing with this liter. fect acquaintance with the force of words ature, several courses are legitimately in the Latin originals. Regarding these open to a professed adherent of the Es. versions of Dr. Neale's, it may truly be

tablished Church. He may, like Archsaid that in many respects be acquitted bishop Trench, select from it portions himself well in a task of consummate dif- congruous with his own religious profesficulty. All translation must be regarded sion, frankly owning that there are other as a problem which can never be fully portions which he has put aside. Or be solved. Literalness is fatal to style, may deal with it as Dean Milman has and an attempt at equivalence inevitably done, as Daniel, himself a Protestant, has opens a door to new ideas. Every lan- done, and as we are doing in this article, guage has its own indoles, and it is not not from a theological, but from a literary too much to say that, as a general rule, and historical point of view. But what he its literature is untranslatable in propor

is not at liberty to do is to ignore or to tion as it is worth translating. This is gloss over the fact, that mediæval Christrue even of prose. It is a fortiori true tianity, centring, as it did, round “the of poetry. Shelley, in a note to his ren. sacrifices of masses,” and instinct, as it dering of a grand chorus in “ Faust," ob- was, with “ the Romish doctrine concernserves: “It is impossible to represent in ing purgatory, pardons, worshipping and another language the melody of the versi- adoration as well of images as of reliques, fication. Even the volatile strength and and also invocation of saints,” is a differdelicacy of the ideas escape in the crucible ent religion from the system established of translation, and the reader is surprised by the Reformers, which pronounces those to find a caput inortuum.In some re

sacrifices to be “ blasphemous fables and spects the works of the mediæval hymnists dangerous deceits,” and repudiates that present even greater difficulties to the doctrine as “a fond thing vainly inventtranslator than the masterpieces of mod- ed.”. This capital fact no honest Angliern poetry, for the mould in which they

can is at liberty to ignore or gloss over; are cast is of another age.

and that is just what Dr. Neale throughDr. Neale inust certainly be credited out his life was endeavoring to do. His with abundant good-will, nd his knowl.

main aim was to present to his readers, edge of his subject was little inferior to not a true picture of the mediæval Church, his devotion to it. His poetic faculty was

but a view of it so retrenched, adapted, genuine, if not of a very high order, and colored, as to bear some resemblance to

the eclectic or original religion evolved • Preface to A Collection of Hymns for the use of of late years by the personal tastes and the people called Methodists, dated Oct. 20th, 1779. private judgments of a few English cler:

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gymen. A radical vice of unreality in- ern Church formed Christendom, so she fects almost all his performances. If formed anew the tongue which for long carefully examined, they will be found to ages was to be the lingua franca of her be to a large extent pictæ tectoria lingua. spiritual empire. And in this process of They do not ring true. We are far from reformation she came upon the poetical formally imputing to Dr. Neale deliberate forms of the classical literature of pagan and conscious dishonesty. But his sym- Rome : forms not indeed indigenous to pathies got the better of his reason. Italy, but adaptations of Hellenic metres, Hence he dwelt among shadows, the which, naturalized by the genius of En. ghosts of the past and the day-dreams of nius and Lucretius, of Catullus and the present, asserting, the thing that is Horace, had supplanted the old Italian not, and ignoring the thing that is. In or Saturnian versification, based upon what we are about to write, we shall avail rhythm. She came upon these forms, and ourselves largely and gratefully of his tried them and found them wanting: labors in a field where his learning, his More than one of her poets indeed used zeal, his patience, produced a plentiful them, and not without skill: but it may harvest. But it is right that we should be truly said of them that they perished here point out, once for all, the abundant in the using. Thus Prudentius, the greattares which will be found among his est who attempted them — the dimeter wheat.

imabic is the favorite metre of his hymns, These, then, are the chief sources to but asclepiads and trimeters are not un. which we shall resort in giving some ac- frequent

a large license in count of this great field of medieval liter- altering the value of syllables.* It is ature, and in culling from it a few speci. much to be regretted that this great poet, mens, such as shall seem most fit to the Horace and Virgil of the Chris. illustrate the genius of that age. And tians," as Bentley does not hesitate to first it is necessary to point out emphati. call him, is little more than a dame to us. cally that it is a distinct field, possessing; Some authentic biography of him would among other characteristics, a language of supply a valuable illustration of the times; its own. For long years, indeed for cen- in which he lived. But none such exists. turies, the tongue in which are enshrined All we know of him is derived from fortysome of the noblest results of philosophi- five beautiful and pathetic verses which cal speculation and of the human fancy, he has prefixed by way of preface to his lay under proscription as barbarous ; dog. “Cathemerinon." It seems that he was Latin, monkish Latin, low Latin, being a Spaniard, born in A.D. 348; that he recommon terms of opprobrium used for cejved a liberal education, and, after pracdesignating it. But mediæval Latin is no tising for some years as a pleader, twice uncouth patois; it is a real language, with filled high judicial office. Subsequently definite rules, principles, and powers. To he received from the emperor promotion, us, indeed, it is dead: but to the men of the nature of which has much exercised the Middle Ages it was in the fullest sense his commentators. Archbishop Trench living ; * and it can no more be judged of describes it as "a high military appointby the standards of the Augustan age than ment at court," an interpretation which at Westminster Abbey by the rules of Vitru. all events completely fiis the poet's owo vius. Nowhere perhaps has the vast in- words. At the age of fifty-six he appears fluence wielded by Christianity in the to have become imbued with a profound world been more significantly illustrated sense of the nothingness of the things than in its effects upon human speech. among which and for which he had lived : It has created the languages and literature of modern Europe : but it had first Carnis post obitum vel bona, vel mala

Numquid talia proderunt called into existence that new Latin out Cum jam quidquid id est, quod fueram, mors of which one large group of those lan. aboleverit ? guages has come, and from wbich all of them have derived much. As the West. From that time forth he devoted himself

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to sacred poetry. The works, in which * It was the common tongue throughout Europe of the learned, the language in which they wrote, spoke, and thought. But in Italy it was something more down * His recent editor, Dressel, observes: “Fides no to a late period. As Ozanam remarks: " Au onzième vella novellum loquendi modum sibi adtulit, quo factum siècle, au douzième, jusqu'au treizième, la langue latine est ut veterum lingua pro re nata immutatam vedean'avait pas cessé d'être comprise en Italie, non des

And Dressel goes on to observe how he disre. lettrés seulement, mais de tous. C'était en latin qu'on gards the quantities both of proper names and of words, prêchait le peuple, en latin qu'on le haranguait, en and how in arsi sæpius prævalet accentus, lege quanlatin qu'on lui composait des chants de guerre." (Les titatis posthabita." Dressel's edition was published at Poëtes Franciscains, p. 33.)

Leipzig, 1860.


he discusses theological subjects in vari. quote a few stanzas from his “Burial
ous hexameters, are little read now. Al- Hymn ” (“: Ad Exequias Defuncti ”), the
though they contain many noble passages, finest perhaps which he ever wrote, al-
the questions with which they deal, burn though there are others hardly less noble.
ing enough in his time, have for the most We essay an English version, for which
part burnt out. It is upon his “Cathe. we are afraid the only merit that can be
merinon” “ Christian Day,” as we may claimed is that it is an almost literal ren-
call it - and his “Peristephanon," or dering of the original, the metre of which
“Martyrs' Garlands,” that his fame chiefly is preserved :-
rests. We can do no more here than
Jam mesta quiesce querela,

Now hushed be all sorrow and sighing,
Lacrimas suspendite matres;

Restrain your fast tears, O ye mothers;
Nullus sua pignora plangat;

Let no one bemoan his lost loved ones,
Mors hæc reparatio vitæ est.

This death is but life's reparation.
Nunc suscipe terra fovendum

Now receive him and lovingly tend him,
Gremioque hunc concipe molli; O earth: in thy soft bosom fold him.
Hominis tibi membra sequestro, To thee a man's frame I surrender;
Generosa et fragmina credo.

The relics I give thee are noble.
Tu depositum tege corpus,

Hide well this deposited body,
Non immemor ille requiret,

For He, not unmindful, will seek it
Sua munera fictor et auctor,

Whose it is, whose hands fashioned and made it,
Propriique ænigmata vultus.

And created it in his own likeness.
Nos tecta fovebimus ossa,

We will honor the bones thou enshroudest,
Violis et fronde frequenti,

With violets and many a green leaf,
Titulumque et frigida saxa

The cold stones and the legend graved on them,
Liquido spargemus odore.

With odorous unguents bedewing. Contemporary with Prudentius was St. / with reason, reduces the number to ten. Ambrose, whose hymns were such a liv- We give the text of one about which there ing power with his great convert St. Au- can be no doubt —“his immortal hymn," gustine.* Most of those which commonly as Archbishop Trench calls it, "Veni Re. bear his name certainly are not his. Car. demptor gentium.” The translation, which dinal Thomassin, a high authority, would we place side by side with it, is Dr. refer to him some twenty compositions Neale's, and is not perhaps among his now extant. But Dr. Neale, as we think | happiest efforts : Veni Redemptor gentium,

Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth,
Ostende partum Virginis;

Come, testify Thy Virgin Birth;
Miretur omne sæculum,

All lands admire, — all time applaud,
Talis decet partus Deum.

Such is the birth that fits a God,
Non ex virili semine,

Begotten of no human will,
Sed mystico spiramine,

But of the Spirit, mystic still,
Verbuin Dei facta est caro,

The Word of God, in flesh arrayed,
Fructusque ventris noruit.

The promised fruit to man displayed.
Alvus tumescit Virginis;

The Virgin's womb that burden gained,
Claustrum pudoris permanet;

With Virgin honor all unstained :
Vexilla virtuium micant:

The banners there of virtues glow;
Versatur in Templo Deus.

God in His Temple dwells below.
Procedit e thalamo suo,

Proceeding from His Chamber free,
Pudoris aula regia,

The Royal Hall of chastity,
Geminæ gigas substantiæ,

Giant of two-fold substance, straight
Alacris ut currat viam.

His destined way He runs elate.
Egressus ejus a Patre,

From God the Father He proceeds,
Regressus ejus ad Patrem:

To God the Father back le speeds:
Excursus usque ad inferos,


:- as far as very hell :
Recursus ad sedem Dei.

Speeds back :- to Light ineffable.
Æqualis æterno Patri,

O equal to the Father, Thou !
Carnis stropheo cingere,

Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now!
Infirma nostri corporis

The weakness of our mortal state,
Virtute firmans perpeti.

With deathless might invigorate.

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See, among other instances, that afforded by a passage in the “Confessions,” lib. ix., c. xii. : “ Ut eram

in lecto recordatus sum veridicos versus Ambrosii tui," etc.

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