The Divine Office eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Divine Office.

     Te lucis ante terminum,
     Rerum Creator poscimus,
     Ut solita clementia
     Sis praesul ad custodiam.

     Praesta pater omnipotens
     Per Jesum Christum Dominum
     Qui tecum in perpetuum regnat
     Cum Sancto Spiritu

Again, see Lauds for Passion Sunday, Lustra sex, second verse, unrevised reads:—­

     Hic acetum fel arundo
     Sputa clavi lancea
     Mite corpus perforator
     Sanguis unda profluit
     Terra, pontus, astra, mundus
     Quo lavantur flumine.

Iste Confessor, unrevised reads:—­

     Iste confessor domini sacratus
     Festa plebs cujus celebrat per orbem
     Hodie laetus meruit secreta
     Scandere coeli.

     Qui Pius, prudens humilis judicus,
     Sobrius, castus fuit et quietus
     Vita dum praesens vegetavit ejus
     Corporis artus.

The imitation of Breviary hymns has for centuries formed a notable part of sacred Latin poetry.  A great amount of Latin poetry dealing with sacred themes finds no place in Missal or Breviary.  Every nation has ancient Latin hymns, generally modelled on the then existing liturgical models; and these hymns are found in national hymnals and in works dealing with Christian antiquities, but they find no place in modern liturgy.  Thus the Latin poetry of the ancient Irish Church is formed for private and not choral use.  The oldest purely rhythmical Latin hymn is that of St. Sechnall (1448), “Audite omnes amantes Deum, sancta merita.”  But neither it, nor any other of the old Latin hymns by Irish writers, finds place in the Breviary.  Collections of Latin hymns by Irish writers of early Christian Ireland are to be found in Todd’s Book of Hymns of the Ancient Irish Church (Dublin, 1885-1891); the Irish Liber Hymnorum (London, 1898), the Antiphonary of Bangor (Warren’s Edition, London, 1893).

One of the most difficult works for a scholar to attempt and to carry out to his satisfaction is the translation of prose or poetry into another language.  The work of translating the Latin of the Roman Breviary into English was attempted and completed years ago.  The work was great and creditable, but not renowned as a feat of translation.  The hymns of the Breviary have been translated by several authors in every country of Christendom, and with different degrees of success.  The study of the Breviary hymns is a highly interesting one, and when it is supported by the different efforts of different translators, it yields new delights, and new beauties are discovered in verses which are sometimes said too rapidly for earnest thought and attention.  In the list of books given in the bibliography below, there are given the names of books of translated hymns.  Any one of them is of great interest.



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The Divine Office from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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