Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and John Mason Neale

We are near the end of the "O" antiphons in these last days of Advent.

December 17:
Veni, O Sapientia,
Quae hic disponis omnia,
Veni, viam prudentiae
Ut doceas et gloriae.
Refrain:Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

December 18:
Veni, Veni Adonai!
Qui populo in Sinai
Legem dedisti vertice,
In Majestate gloriae.

December 19:
Veni, O Jesse virgula,
Ex hostis tuos ungula,
De specu tuos tartari
Educ et antro barathri.

December 20:
Veni, Clavis Davidica,
Regna reclude caelica,
Fac iter tutum superum,
Et claude vias inferum.

December 21:
Veni, Veni O Oriens!
Solare nos adveniens,
Noctis depelle nebulas,
Dirasque noctis tenebras.

December 22:
Veni, Veni, Rex gentium,
Veni, Redemptor omnium,
Ut salvas tuos famulos
Peccati sibi conscios.

December 23:
Veni, Veni Emmanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exsilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.

The English translation most commonly used (with some adaptations) is by John Mason Neale (1818 to 1866), Anglican minister and High Church translator of Catholic and Orthodox Hymns. The English Hymnal of 1906 contains 63 of his translations and six original hymns.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. Refrain

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave. Refrain

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death's dark shadows put to flight. Refrain

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery. Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

O come, thou Root of Jesse's tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call. Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace. Refrain

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear. Refrain

Here is some commentary on these beautiful antiphons.

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