Wednesday, May 07, 2014

50 days of Easter - Day 18

Continuing our survey of the Church's liturgical heritage, today we have the hymn Aurora lucis rutilat, which is assigned as a hymn for Lauds (Morning Prayer) in the revised Liturgy of the Hours. The entire hymn is much longer than this, and used to be sung at different Offices. One of the parts is now in the Common of Apostles for Eastertide. (This translation is by J.J. Neal from the early 19th century.)

AURORA lucis rutilat,
caelum laudibus intonat,
mundus exultans iubilat,
gemens infernus ululat,
LIGHT'S glittering morn bedecks the sky,
heaven thunders forth its victor cry,
the glad earth shouts its triumph high,
and groaning hell makes wild reply:
Cum rex ille fortissimus,
mortis confractis viribus,
pede conculcans tartara
solvit catena miseros !
While he, the King of glorious might,
treads down death's strength in death's despite,
and trampling hell by victor's right,
brings forth his sleeping Saints to light.
Ille, qui clausus lapide
custoditur sub milite,
triumphans pompa nobile
victor surgit de funere.
Fast barred beneath the stone of late
in watch and ward where soldiers wait,
now shining in triumphant state,
He rises Victor from death's gate.
Solutis iam gemitibus
et inferni doloribus,
"Quia surrexit Dominus!"
resplendens clamat angelus.
Hell's pains are loosed, and tears are fled;
captivity is captive led;
the Angel, crowned with light, hath said,
'The Lord is risen from the dead.'
There is a very low-volume recording of the chant on YouTube. You really have to crank it up to listen to it.

Here is a magnificent polyphonic rendering of the hymn by the 16th century composer Orlandus Lassus.

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