Hymn for the Feast of the Presentation-Candlemas
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    I thought I would post my translation of an Office Hymn for the upcoming Feast of the Presentation, Adorna, Sion, Thalamum.

    A few comments: The Latin text I worked with is pre-Urbanite. I don't know enough about the Urbanite reforms to say whether this is the best thing to do or not; I simply tend to follow the current Liber Hymnarius. Secondly, although I think the hymn is suitable for use in the liturgy, especially at the Office, or as a hymn in an OF Mass, I would never think of replacing the most proper processional of the solemn entrance, the Canticle of Simeon, with any hymn. Lastly, a choir that could sing a motet on Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion (there are several, by Byrd, Lassus, etc.) should probably prefer to do so.

    And yet, since many of us do sing English hymns, and since anyways they are proper to the Liturgy of the Hours, I think that they ought to be straight out of our heritage, full of the daring imagery that the Catholic imagination allows.

    Let Zion's bridal-room be clothed:
    He comes, her Lord and her Betrothed.
    Let man and woman, by faith's light,
    Their vigil keep throughout the night.

    Saint Simeon, sent forth in joy,
    Exults to see the baby Boy:
    The light in Whom all things are known
    Has now upon the nations shone.

    His parents to the temple bring
    The Temple as an offering
    The righteousness of law He chose
    Though to the law He nothing owes.

    So, Mary, bring this little one,
    Yours and the Father's only Son
    Through whom our offering is made
    By whom our ransom price is paid.

    And forward, queen of virgins, go
    And let rejoicing overflow
    With gifts bring forth your newborn Son
    Who comes to rescue everyone.

    Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory bright
    Who guides the nations into light
    Be praised, and for eternity
    Be glorified, O Trinity. Amen.

    Translation c. 2009 Kathleen Pluth. Permission is granted for parish use Feb. 2, 2009. All other rights reserved.

    Adorna, Sion, thalamum,
    quæ præstolaris Dominum;
    sponsum et sponsam suscipe
    vigil fidei lumine.

    Beate senex, propera,
    promissa comple gaudia
    et revelandum gentibus
    revela lumen omnibus.

    Parentes Christum deferunt,
    in templo templum offerunt;
    legi parere voluit
    qui legi nihil debuit.

    Offer, beata, parvulum,
    tuum et Patris unicum;
    offer per quem offerimur,
    pretium quo redimimur.

    Procede, virgo regia,
    profer Natum cum hostia;
    monet omnes ad gaudium
    qui venit salus omnium.

    Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
    qui te revelas gentibus,
    cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
    in sempiterna sæcula.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • What a beautiful translation! And if it is set to a familiar LM tune, people will be able to sing it in the procession. And using in will not necessarily exclude the Nunc dimittis.

    The Graduale lists the antiphon, "Lumen ad revelationem" with the Nunc dimittis as an alternative to "Ecce Dominus veniet" as a chant to accompany the initial lighting of the candles. ("Ecce Dominus venient" is not likely to be much missed.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Bruce, thank you!!

    Unfortunately, according to my parish's resident Latinist, I've made some errors. They are corrected below.

    Let Zion's bridal-room be clothed:
    He comes, her Lord and her Betrothed.
    Let bride and Bridegroom, by faith's light,
    A vigil keep throughout the night.

    Saint Simeon, go forth in joy,
    Exult to see the baby Boy:
    Make known to all this Light divine
    Who soon upon all lands shall shine.

    His parents to the temple bring
    The Temple as an offering
    The righteousness of law He chose
    Though to the law He nothing owes.

    So, Mary, bring this little one,
    Yours and the Father's only Son
    Through whom our offering is made
    By whom our ransom price is paid.

    And forward, royal Virgin, go
    And let rejoicing overflow
    With gifts bring forth your newborn Son
    Who comes to rescue everyone.

    Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory bright
    Who guides the nations into light
    Be praised, and for eternity
    Be glorified, O Trinity. Amen.


    Translation c. 2009 Kathleen Pluth. Permission is granted for parish use Feb. 2, 2011. All other rights reserved.
  • That is beautiful.
  • How really fine! Hmmm: you could make your way through the entire Liber Hymnarius!
    This is a genuine need; and, you might go down in history with J.M. Neale... or Catherine Winkworth!
  • G
    Posts: 1,381
    Really stunning, as always.

    What tune to you "hear" it to?

    My bar-none favorite LM is JESU DULCIS, but I have some "chanty" and minor-key phobics with whom to deal...

    Is it totally tasteless to be thinking LASST UNS UNSPELLABLE, by adding "alleluias"? (Adding cheery alleluias gets some people on board, I've noticed, at St Happy-All-The-Time's Parish.)

    Hey, anyone have pull with the MacArthur people?
    I think Miss Pluth needs a grant she can live on while undertaking the project suggested by M Jackson Osborn.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • I would be wary of wearing out 'Lasst uns erfreuen'. 'Abends', 'Mendon', or 'Melcombe' seem, off the cuff, to commend themselves to this text. Equally desirable, though, would be to retain the plainsong tune to which the Latin original is paired... or, another, such as 'Jesu dulcis'. (It often happens, incidentally, that the tunes in Liber Hymnarius [and, for that matter, Liber Usualis] are not always the ones most anciently paired with the relative text. Also, there are instances in which the tunes in LH and LU are not the same; not to mention that, when they are the same, the one may be more, or less, elaborate than the other.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Thanks for your kind words. And I certainly wouldn't mind a bishop- (or some other, less canonically appropriate-) benefactor. But not MacArthur, which is for geniuses, whereas I have a knack. And something of a mission, I suppose.

    What I really hope is that these ancient texts will be sung.

    Often I have Jesu Dulcis in mind while translating LM hymns, or EISENACH. Both tunes gently forgive an almost inevitable poetic flaw better than LASST does: beginning lines without a true iamb--for example, the words "Let" and "Saint" that begin verses 1 and 2 cannot really be unstressed. Articles, prepositions, and conjuctions hide the issue pretty well, as do some tunes. SINE NOMINE hides all sorts of metrical issues, and with LEONI the questions hardly even arise.

    Otoh, for a congregation, it's hard to go wrong with LASST. Plus it's a Catholic tune, one of the great crowd-pleasing musical moments of the Counter-reformation.
  • Kathy - you say that you have a 'knack' and a mission: does this mean that translating hymns is one of the things that you do? Have you done others? Would you share them? Many of these, as you no doubt know, were translated superbly (and some not so superbly) in the Victorian era both by Catholic and Anglican scholars. Then, there are the ones done inimitably by Hopkins. Still, new ones of quality are always refreshing and give added insight. And, a new, thorough, version of the entire corpus of office hymns would be a magnificent scholarly achievement and tool.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    M. Jackson, thank you for asking. Yes, I've translated just a few Latin hymns. It's not difficult or very time-consuming, but just a matter of setting aside time.

    (Three months' sabbatical in a chanting monastery would do the trick. But then who would teach my scola?)

    I don't want to clutter up the forum, so I've only posted a trans. of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa, and I'll just point you to two others: http://www.adoremus.org/0306LentenHymn.html
    http://www.canticanova.com/articles/misc/art7bc1.htm

    Regarding my version of the Stabat Mater, Ben Whitworth, a British scholar of Latin-English hymn translations, wrote in the UK magazine Catholic Life:

    "...The two most effective translations that I have come across are both, by coincidence, American. A writer known only as G.J.G. published a version in the U.S. Democratic Review of 1842, which begins:

    Broken-hearted, lo! and tearful,
    Bowed beside that Cross so fearful,
    Stands the Mother by the Son!

    A more recent translation, given in full here, is by the Washington-based hymn-writer Kathleen Pluth. It captures the richness of this great medieval hymn in the language of the twenty-first century."
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Kathy - at the risk of sounding hopelessly "non-liturgical," you go, girl!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Thank you, Mary Jane.

    Right now I'm working on a very important but painfully theological hymn, Apostolorum Passio. St. Ambrose wrote it in honor of Saints Peter and Paul.

    (It's Saint Ambrose who established LM as "the" hymn meter of the Latin Church, btw.)

    As I understand the argument of Apost. Pass., Ambrose is establishing the primacy of the See of Rome, not so much on the Scriptural passages that establish the Petrine privilege, but on the blood of these most important apostles and martyrs. They gave God glory, in Rome, and so the whole world should listen to them, who speak from Rome, the elected Lady. This is an ecclesiastical angle I hadn't thoroughly considered before.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Sinking...
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,396
    Before this sinks away altogether: thanks for describing the theological basis in Ambrose's words.

    Fr. Roch Kereszty of U. Dallas wrote an article for Communio some years ago about this patristic-theological idea.

    The piece argued that, according to various Church Fathers, the apostles continue to govern the particular Churches after death; and the apostles are associated with the ancient sees through the sites of their martyrdom and the presence of their relics. Then the Church at Rome, the site of the martyrdom of two apostles, gains a natural preeminence among the ancient sees.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    I hope no one minds if I unsink/ resink this discussion, because the feast is in a couple of days.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,957
    I am going to use this Monday! Thank you, Kathy!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,957
    Kathy:

    Would like to use this again. Is that OK? I can also post my page in PDF to make it easy printing for others, but I will not if you don't want me to. Let me know.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,957
    trying to get this to the top of the forum...
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,502
    The tune DANBY is screaming to be used here.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,502
    And I believe DANBY, with RVW's harmony, was in the 1906 English hymnal and would thus be public domain.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Very kind of you, Francis.

    I would like to offer permission to anyone who would like to use this in a parish/ school next Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010.

    Francis' treatment is very beautiful. I think he would be happy to send it to anyone who sends him an email.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,957
    Kathy

    I posted the program for tomorrows Mass that I was finishing at church tonight and then went to review the post once I got home. The post was gone and then I realized that your text was in the program which you asked me not to post. Please forgive my error. It was an oversight on my part. I am suspecting you saw it and had it deleted. My age is starting to impact my memory. Mea Culpa.
  • A brilliant translation.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    No prob. Thanks again for the compliments.

    This is one of those texts (happens frequently to me) that took a single rhyme to get off the ground. The problem is that there is one "perfect" word to translate "adorna"--adorn. But it seemed impossible to make that word work. Once I thought of "betrothed," however, the slight compromise of meaning from "adorned" to "clothed" seemed small, and the imperative syntax of the first line fell into place.

    After solving that problem the whole thing came very quickly. The whole translation took a day.

    There have been some problems that have seemed unsolveable--the necessary rhyme/meter/meaning combination never appears. When that happens at the beginning, it tends to stiffen the whole project. When it comes in the middle, I often just toss the verse, unless it's a translation, which istm should be complete.

    For Adoro te devote, there was a similar key moment. I've thought for a long time of studying this text that the most important word in it is "hidden." Christ hides in the Eucharist, just as God was hidden in Israel. Faith finds Him--a point brilliantly exposed in Richard Crashaw's translation. But "hidden" is not a word for the end of a hymn line. The breakthrough word in that case was "concealed."

    On the subject of God's hiding, this is nice, from St. John of the Cross:

    "Yet you inquire: Since he Whom my soul loves is within me, why don't I find Him or experience Him? The reason is that He remains concealed and you do not also conceal yourself in order to encounter and experience Him. Anyone who is to find a hidden treasure must enter the hiding place secretly, and once he has discovered it, he will also be hidden just as the treasure is hidden. Since, then, you're beloved Bridegroom is the treasure hidden in a field, for which the wise merchant sold all his possessions (Mt 13:44), and that field is your soul, in order to find Him, you should forget all your possessions and all creatures, and hide in the interior, secret chamber of your spirit. And there, closing the door behind you (your will to all things) you should pray to your Father in secret (Mt 6;6). Remaining hidden with Him, you will experience Him in hiding, and love and enjoy Him in hiding, and you will delight with Him in hiding, that is, in a way transcending all language and feeling." (Canticle, 1:9)
  • Beautiful work, Kathy.
    Who can remember to post it next year, too?
  • BruceL
    Posts: 953
    Kathy, nice work. I stumbled upon this whilst looking for the Latin original; I have the Mundelein Psalter, which also has a nice translation. It might be worth looking at as food for thought if you decide to make a career out of this! :)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,957
    We wound up singing your text to Creator alme siderum. I prefer Jesu Dulcis but not as many PEPs know that tune.

    Thank you and congratulations Kathy.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    (bumping)
  • Kathy, do you mind my forwarding this to my parochial vicar for possible use during this year's Mass?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    That would be fine!
  • thank you!!!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Please pardon one more bumpity bump bump.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,957
    Kathy

    We will sing this again to Jesu Dulcis

    Thanks

    Its a fitting time to sing a hymn ;-)
  • Oh, yeah, I'm using this one!!!
    Thanks, Kathy! As a concrete sign of gratitude, here's pledging a beer/ coffee/ meal for you when next you visit home in SD. :)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,912
    Since becoming somewhat of a regular here a few weeks ago, I've been sifting backwards through the various threads. I stumbled upon this topic and was intrigued, because I had been contemplating setting the Abelard hymn Adorna, Sion, thalamum in alternatim (odd verses unison, even verses SATB) with the harmonized verses using the music for my Creator of the stars of night (Conditor alme siderum) setting. I contacted Kathy, and she kindly gave me permission to include her wonderful English translation along with the Abelard Latin as text underlay. The completed setting is attached, and here is a synthesized MP3 sound file:
    Adorna, Sion, thalamum
    Many thanks to Kathy for allowing me to make this hymn available in English as well as the original Latin. The work has just been published at CPDL
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Charles, I'm really delighted with what you've done here!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Am bumping this up, partly in response to the heavy blog traffic I've been having on searches for this hymn. I thought others might be interested, who may not have seen it in past years. Cheers!
  • Charles and Kathy, that is lovely! Thank you.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,912
    If anyone wishes a version of my setting with a keyboard reduction for the SATB parts, it is attached herewith. To make everything fit, I had to reduce the size somewhat, however.
  • There is also a beautiful arrangement in the Summit Choirbook 283. Verse, refrain in Latin. The translation is DNS, the arrangement is a 15th century Dutch tune proper for this text. It's very easy to do and the congregation just needs to sing the refrain which they can pick up very easily.
    Thanked by 2rich_enough eft94530
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    No Catholic musician's library is complete without the Summit Choirbook! (Is it available through your bookstore, by the way?)
  • LASST UNS UNSPELLABLE


    I'm sorry. I just needed to resurrect this thread to say that this made me literally laugh out loud. Uncontrollably.

    I'm planning Presentation now, so there you have it.
    Thanked by 2Kathy CHGiffen
  • Charles, if I may call you this, do you known where the hymn melody comes in what your typeset? I dont think it is a modal chant melody? (reminds me of my experience with the St Caecilia hymn!!). It's an unusual melody.

    I have never sung this hymn, as I dont focus as much on matins, but primarily, it is because this hymn was a rarer hymn in the medieval office (again that is the situation also with the caecilia hymn I typeset!).

    Peter Abelard was a genius, I've loved every hymn of he made. It is nice how he took the title for one of the common antiphons of the feast and created a hymn elaborating on it further. What I wonder though is whether it matched any other melody originally.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Oh, the one charles used, is that the dutch tune or different tune? I am guessing that a 15th c. dutch tune is probably falling into a chant mode. Would I be correct to say that the15th c. hymn melodies continue to do this? (I havent investigated this..)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,912
    Charles, if I may call you this, do you known where the hymn melody comes in what your typeset? I dont think it is a modal chant melody? (reminds me of my experience with the St Caecilia hymn!!). It's an unusual melody.
    Oh, the one charles used, is that the dutch tune or different tune? I am guessing that a 15th c. dutch tune is probably falling into a chant mode.

    Ummm ... I'm sorry to disappoint but very happy to reply:

    The hymn melody that I used is, in fact, an original composition of mine, composed originally for an SATB setting of Creator of the Stars of Night (Conditor alme siderum) (score attached and a performance by the Phipps Festival Chorus from 2006/2007). I felt the melody was just as appropriate, if not more so, as the melody in an alternatim setting of Kathy's text.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,347
    Kathy, may we use this translation for this coming feast? Thank you.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,965
    Sure, go right ahead. Glad it will be useful.
    Thanked by 2canadash bkenney27
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Thank you!
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    If I may be so bold... Kathy, may we please use this text again this year? We have a Solemn High in memory of Mark Husey's mother on Monday. Mark (like all of us) was so very moved by your Peter/Paul text at the oquium in SLC.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,912
    Feel free to use my alternatim setting above of Kathy's beautiful translation (it is also published at CPDL).