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Saturday 17 December - Veni, O Sapiéntia (Plainsong)

CD Cover

Sung by Tony Evershed.

The "O Antiphons" are a tradition of the Roman Catholic and many Anglican and Protestant Churches, sung in the days leading up to (but not including) Christmas Eve. The initial letters of the Latin forms of the seven antiphons used in most churches (excluding the "Veni"s found at the beginning of all of them) forms a pleasing reverse acrostic, which can be re-arranged to "ERO CRAS" - tomorrow, I come. For this reason I've kept the original order and language of the antiphons in the hymn version used in the (Catholic) Westminster Hymnal, rather than the more commonly-known "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel".

I found the usual translation a bit on the loose side (as it has to be for rhyme and scansion) for my purposes here, so cobbled together something a little closer in meaning. Latin scholars, mea culpa

Veni, O Sapiéntia,
Quae hic dispónis ómnia,
Veni, viam prudéntiae
Ut dóceas et glóriae.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni, Adónai,
Qui pópulo in Sínai
Legem dedísti vértice
In majestáte glóriae.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Veni, O Jesse vírgula,
Ex hostis tuos úngula,
De specu tuos tártari
Educ et antro bárathri.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Veni, clavis Davídica,
Regna reclúde caélica,
Fac iter tutum súperum,
Et claudi vias ínferum.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni, O Óriens,
Solári nos advéniens,
Noctis depélle nébulas,
Dirásque mortis t&enebras.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni, Rex Géntium,
Veni, Redémptor hóminum,
Ut salves tuos fámulos
Peccáti sibi cónscios.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni, Emmánuel,
Camptívum solve Israel.
Qui gemit in exílio,
Privátus Dei Fílio.

Gaude, gaude, Emmánuel
Nascétur pro te, Israel.

Amen.

Come, O Wisdom,
Who orders all things,
O come, the way of prudence
and glory to teach.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel1
was born for thee, O Israel.

Come, Lord,
Who to the tribes on Sinai
Gave the law
In majesty and glory.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
was born for thee, O Israel.

Come, thou Rod of Jesse,
[Deliver us] From thy enemy,
From the sight of hell,
Bring us out of the grave.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
was born for thee, O Israel.

Come, Key of David,
Open [to us] the Kingdom of heaven,
Make a road that leads above
and close the path to the underworld.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
was born for thee, O Israel.

Come, O Morning-star,2
We alone have arrived
Dispel the clouds of night
and put to flight the darkness of death.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
was born for thee, O Israel.

Come, King of the Nations,
Come, redeemer of all
To save thy servants
Who acknowledge their sins.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
was born for thee, O Israel.

Come, Emmanuel,
Ransom captive Israel,
Who mourns in exile
Deprived of the Son of God.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
was born for thee, O Israel.

Amen.

1 Isaiah 7:14 has "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." (NRSV) A footnote remarks "That is God with us."
2 Not to be confused with the "morning star" (or "Lucifer", or a variety of other appellations, depending on the Bible in question) used in Isaiah 14:12 to refer to the devil.