Advent Prose; Rorate Caeli in English for singing
  • I typeset my own version of Rorate Caeli in english, according to the Douay Rheims bible. I am attaching it to this post. For whaetever reason I could not attach it to the forum, so here it is on this link:

    For comparison here is the original anglican version of it.

    The main difference in the more common anglican version, compared to my own is that the original verse 3 in latin was ommitted because it was a non-biblical text (protestant ideaology?).

    I hold the view that some aspects of the Anglican protestant/catholic patrimony deserve to be corrected to fully reflect the orthodoxy of the official septuagint and vulgate bibles of the catholic/orthodox churches. Therefore it behooved me to make certain that this famous prose existed in a more literal accurate translation based upon something closer to an official catholic liturgical text in hieratic english. I hope someone finds this to be useful.

    There is also a corrected translation by "Archbishop" John LoBue, which is also more accurate though slightly different.

    A fourth version was made by Fr. Columba Kelly in comtemporary english. It was published in 1994 in the book "A Monastic Antiphonary - Vol. 1 - Advent". His version is also good,

    Lastly there is a fifth version of this in the 1970's edition of secular use "The Liturgy of the Hours" which is perhaps the most mediocre of them all.

    I welcome any comments on these three versions in english.
  • I've done my own version where I've spliced the antiphon for the prose with the psalm for the Introit for Advent IV.

    I've use the traditional Anglican text in order to preserve some continuity, although I have my own ideas on how it should be translated.

    I'm considering adding the rest of the "proper" antiphon to be sung as a psalm verse and introducing it to my new choir next week.

    I will probably drop the 2nd and 3rd number psalm verses because my parish doesn't use incense for that particular mass. We would never get more than 2 verses out of a hymn and I am thinking that the extra psalm verses would be redundant to requirements.

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  • That is a very nice version hartley, in it's simplicity, especially. Though I would in the long term, miss the original verses, it is a useful way to encourage it's use amongst the less musically experienced.

    What you've done is similar to what Fr. Samuel Weber did for his Propers for the Mass in 2005, where he used it for the "responsorial psalm".
  • It is intended specifically as an introit for Advent IV. The idea being that hopefully the congregation have heard the full prose earlier in Advent and willjoin in.
  • I thought someone in these forums might have done something this! Nine years after you posted this, I want to thank you for sharing your version! This is beautiful, I hope to incorporate this into our Advent Procession this year.

    Could you please explain in more detail what you meant about verse 3 being committed? I was a little confused as how the version you used is more complete and what the Anglicans omitted.

    Thank you!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    A grand sigh... God be with Chris.
  • For those who like the idea of chanting in Latin but would like to sing in parts; here’s my relatively simple SAB setting which is easy for modest choirs.
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  • Just to tie up some pieces of this, the choirmaster at St Meinrad did not know anything about a translation by Fr. Kelly. They apparently use a version from Melvin Farrell S.S. which is in a hymnal from the 1960s calls the "People's Mass Book" which can be accessed (with registration) through the free library ( I like it quite a bit.

    Ye heavens, open from above, that clouds may rain the Just One.

    1. Do not be angry, Lord our God,
    No longer be mindful that we have sinned before thee.
    See how Sion, thy city, now is left abandoned,
    Sion is left unguarded now, Jerusalem now is desolate:
    City that claimed thy loving blessing and worked for thy glory,
    City where our fathers sang thy praises.

    2. We know our sin, and we are burdened as with some loathsome thing,
    And have fallen down just like leaves in the blast of winter:
    And the sins we have committed like winds have blown us all about.
    Thou hast taken from us brightness and comfort,
    And thou hast broken us by laying the debt of our sins upon us.

    3. Lord, now turn to us and see thy chosen people’s affliction
    And send down him who is to come,
    The one promised, Lamb and yet Lord of all lands,
    From the rock in the desert to the mount of Sion, thy daughter,
    That he may bring pardon, freeing us captives of our burden.

    4. Be ye comforted, be ye comforted, hear me, my people:
    Soon shall come to thee Christ, thy Savior.
    Why dost thou give way to sorrowing:
    Has this grieving ended thy sadness?
    The Savior comes, do not be fearful, for it is I, thy God and mighty Ruler,
    Sion’s Holy One and thy Redeemer.

  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    There are two nice versions of the Advent Prose that I use, both have optional accompaniments:

    If you like archaic English (Thou/Thy/Ye/You), the version at No. 501 in the New English Hymnal is excellent. If you need more modern English, Stephen Cleobury's edition in Advent for Choirs is also very good. (Both books also have English versions of the Great 'O' Antiphons, including 'O Virgo virginum'.)
  • "If you like .....", "If you need...."

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  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Many DMs prefer ("like") archaic English; some are forced by TPTB ("need") to use modern English because "people don't talk like that".
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  • Another version, in Old Church English, may be found at no. 765 (or there abouts) in The English Hymnal.
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  • davido
    Posts: 893
    Does anyone have a copy of the People's Mass Book accompaniments and could scan the accompaniment to the Melvin Farrell translation referenced above?

    I realized that same translation is found in the current English LOTR (soon to be replaced)
  • davido
    Posts: 893
    Here is the Farrell translation fitted to the NOH accompaniment, both in the original (thee, thy) and in the LOTR 1975 revision (you, your)