Lourdes Hymn (thirteen verses thereof)
  • CGM
    Posts: 683
    Everyone knows the hymn Immaculate Mary, and probably most people know that it is sung with either of two competing refrains:

    1. (the English version)
    AHHH-ve AHHH-ve Ave MaRIIIIIIa

    2. (the French version)
    ah-VAAAY ah-VAAAY ah-VAY MariAAAH
    ah-VAAAY ah-VAAAY ah-VAY MariAAAH
    (see the first attached file, for a leadsheet of the French version)

    My pastor prefers the French version (presumably, the original melody), and he's asked me to find an English translation of the actual French text for use at a parish procession on Our Lady of Lourdes (Feb. 11th, a Friday this year).

    The French lyric has 60(!) verses (see the second attached file for the full French text with commentary, also in French). I've looked around and haven't found an official translation of the hymn (not on the Lourdes website nor elsewhere). However, a French friend pointed me here, which contains an English translation (probably via Google translate) of selected verses.

    So I've attempted to versify these English words, and I'm looking for feedback. I had a couple singers run through it with me earlier today, and they didn't find anything objectionable in it — but I'm looking for a wider critique. I'm hoping that Kathy Pluth, Anna Bendiksen, Chonak, and others hymnologically inclined may weigh in with improvements, although I'll take it as is if that's how it ends up.

    Does anyone know of an already-extant English translation...?
    my attempted 6.5 6.5 versification of the Lourdes Hymn, based on this English translation

    1. O blest Virgin Mary,
    To Lourdes on this day
    Come Christians returning,
    As to you they pray— R/

    2. The base of the rock
    Glows with light warm and mild;
    The Lady approaches
    And beckons the child. R/

    3. "Please come with your friends,
    Fifteen times visit here;
    Then open your hearts.
    That my voice you may hear." R/

    4. Three times spoke Our Lady
    With much urgency:
    To all she says, "Penance."
    O Christian, take heed! R/

    5. Come, drink from this fountain
    Of pure water blest;
    In holy ablutions
    Go, wash, be refreshed. R/

    6. "I wish, at the foot of
    These mountains, there be
    A crowd in procession,
    Belovèd by me. R/

    7. "I ask that a chapel
    Be built in this place,
    Reminding all people
    To seek the Lord's face." R/

    8. For Mary has visited
    Us eighteen times;
    The child who has seen her
    Has faith most sublime. R/

    9. The grotto grants peace
    When one comes here to pray;
    And Mary spreads graces
    To all here this day. R/

    10. We witness the fountain
    That never runs dry;
    And crowds without ceasing
    Are e'er passing by. R/

    11. Teach us to obey
    All the grace we receive;
    May we be converted
    And come to believe. R/

    12. May God grant the sinner
    Forgiveness of sin;
    May grace of the Savior
    Enlighten all men. R/

    13. O dear Blessèd Mother,
    At our final hour
    Please pray for us sinners
    To Christ, Our Savior. R/

    If you've made it this far, God bless you.
    And thanks (in advance) for your comments!
    Thanked by 2cmb Don9of11
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    FWIW Wikipedia says the original had 8 verses, it was expanded by the author at the request of the local bishop.
  • I’ll take a look at this again once I get to work, but I wouldn’t bother translating all of the original. It isn’t really worth it; it’s a very literal and overly-detailed telling of the story of the apparitions, with some cheap rhymes, honestly. (And I can tell you that the translation you’ve copied into the body of your post has little relation to the pdf of the long version with all the extra verses.)

    Also, having been to Lourdes, it’s not surprising there are so many potential verses, as some of the processions can be VERY long. But, such a log procession would hardly be necessary or appropriate at an average suburban parish.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Here's my own on the fly translation of the long version presented in the PDF:

    O Virgin Marie,
    The Christian people
    of Lourdes pray to you
    To you they come

    Let us sing your [hi]story
    In your city/place
    From the heights of glory
    deign to hear us

    11 of February:
    One day Bernadette
    was picking up wood
    with two little girls
    who were crying from the cold

    Out to Massabielle
    the child wanted to go,
    but she is so frail;
    how can she get across?

    Cold had seized her
    and a sound surprised her
    but on the prairie
    there was no wind

    the base of the rock
    suddenly shined
    The Woman approached
    and signed to the child

    The white apparition
    appeared to her eyes
    like a presence
    that speaks of God

    With a diadem
    made of light immortal
    she had for her belt
    a ribbon of heaven

    At the foot of her Mother
    the child, who saw her
    learned to well
    make the sign of the cross

    The beads of a rosary
    ran through her hands
    and of that prayer
    she traced the way

    for a long time Bernadette
    remained before the rock
    happy, repeating
    the song of the 'Ave' [Hail Mary]

    14 of February
    She was so beautiful
    how to see her again?
    What does she want of me?
    How to know her?

    She came back
    without saying her name
    the child, all mute
    had fear it was a demon

    with a sudden gesture
    holy water sprang forth
    to the timid child
    And the Lady smiled

    18 February
    "You have come
    to Lourdes to us
    Poor beyond telling
    Who am I for you?"

    "Come, I beg you
    here 15 times
    with your friends
    listen to my voice"

    "the generous child
    one day, I promis
    to make you happy
    in heaven forever"

    19-23 February
    The believing crowd
    coming back each day
    with a humble bearing
    watching each return

    Her [Bernadette] eyes illuminated
    her front/face paled
    because she, could see
    the infinite world

    The faithful people
    foreshadowing our day
    a new era
    had started for them

    the Lady has left
    how to see her again?
    the child dazzled
    kept her hope

    22-26 Feb.
    Two times the shepherdess
    came back to pray
    without light
    the rock didn't shine

    "one says that at the grotto
    I made everything up
    my mother is sobbing
    and they want to arrest me"

    24th of Feb.

    The unknown Woman
    quickly reappeared
    the child saw her
    and found once again peace

    "Know that the storm
    will one day be passed
    that your courage
    will return stronger than ever"

    The child supplicated Her:
    "What does your heart say?
    I want that people pray
    for all sinners

    with insistence
    the Lady three times
    said "penitence!"
    Christians, this is for you!

    "Eat the bitter herbs
    that are growing in the dirt
    and in the dust
    cover your face"

    25,27, 28 Feb.
    "At this fountain
    Come and bathe
    in the water pure and holy
    come, all of you, and bathe

    The font is close
    attracting in an instnat
    a sign from the rock
    comes back the child

    As soon as she thinks it
    quickly she sees
    springing forth the bubbling water
    from the ground into her hands

    O fountain of life
    that brings back health
    blessed fountain
    how we sing [thy praises]

    2-4 March
    "I want that right here
    at the foot of these hills
    the people that I love
    come and process"

    "and that a chappelle
    be built in this place
    to remind men
    that they must pray to God"

    "come; say to the priests
    the wish of my heart
    the priests must rekindle
    a speaking sign:

    "ask for a sign
    says the pastor
    that of a wild rose
    to spring forth a bud"

    "Go back and tell
    to your pastor"
    "who is this Woman?
    her name, I am waiting on"

    With a smile
    welcoming this wish
    The Woman wanted to say
    "I will do one better"

    25 March
    The earth is rejoicing
    The Living God wishes to save us;
    The Church repeats
    the song of "ave"

    O gives you, the earth
    admire this gift
    what is this mystery
    of Your holy name?

    Three times the shepherdess
    asked again humbly
    the same prayer:
    the Woman listened

    Mary to the earth
    will give her secret
    by this shepherdess
    that no one believed

    Virgin Immaculate
    and now you all believe
    finally revealed
    Your true name

    7 April

    The candle that burns
    saving one's fingers
    follow the incredulity
    [he] who doubts and who believes

    16th June

    The faithful virgin
    comes back but unspeaking
    she is truly beautiful
    unlike any other

    18 Jan.

    Faithful, hear the message
    that the Church has spoken
    giving testimony
    to the truth

    "Mary has come
    here to us 18 times
    The child who saw Her
    is worth of belief"

    ...here I give up on couplets 48-60. This is too stinkin long and not worth singing in its entirety.
  • 48-60 on the 150th anniversary. (never mind... I made it this far... sigh)

    The innumerable hoards
    since this grand day
    keep coming
    to sing of Her love

    One sees the fountain
    that runs without ceasing
    and the hoards of humanity
    come by without ceasing

    the grotto where on prays
    dispenses peace
    it's there that Maria
    Doles out here benefits

    To each new grace
    we must know to obey
    Because God calls us
    to conversion

    One says the rosary
    one lives in the faith
    with you, o Mother,
    one takes up his cross

    The God who pardons
    absolves the sinner
    grace radiates forth
    at the name of the savior

    Our crosses are good and heavy
    when God is far off
    the grace of Lourdes
    is our nourishment

    Hail, O Mary
    the daughter of Holy God
    Who chose you
    and blessed your womb

    Without Ceasing, O Maria
    Lead us to Christ
    the God of Hosts
    Triumph over us!

    with all our loved ones
    and in this city
    Let us believe the apostles
    to peace & and unity

    In the last hour
    for us, sinners
    Wants Holy Mary
    to pray to the Savior

    O Virgin Mary
    we live in hope
    that after this life
    we will be in heaven and see you

    May your praise
    resound without ceasing
    the sound of the archangel
    taken up by humans
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 685
    I've done some research on this hymn and its origins and a discussion here on CMAA forum There are links in the discussion pointing to French hymnals dating a few years after the apparitions of Lourdes where evidence of the melody is found. I think probably the link most on topic French Priest Jean Gaignet

    Also, here is a copy from Tozer's CATHOLIC HYMNS, 1898. Tozer was probably the first to introduce the 5 Ave's which is typically found in hymnals today
  • CGM
    Posts: 683
    Serviam, this is amazing.
    — 9:26am, "maybe I'll look at this when I get to work."
    — 10:23am, "here are the first 47 verses. I'm not gonna bother with the other ones."
    — 10:31am, "here are the last 13 verses. Might as well..."
    You must be entirely fluent in French to crank out sixty verses of literal translation so speedily. Thank you for this!
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • CGM
    Posts: 683
    And Don, thanks for the 1898 hymn. The text is more elegant than my verses (even if it's not really based on the original French lyric). I'll definitely pitch it to my pastor. Thanks again!
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Yes; I was a French / music double major in college and lived in Paris with a French family for a semester. I’m rusty these days (had to look a couple of words up) but otherwise it was pretty simple. Glad I could help!