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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Solus ad Victimam - Third Nocturne on the Vigil of Our Lord

Solus ad victimam procedis, Domine,
morti te offerens quam venis tollere:
quid nos miserrimi possumus dicere
qui quae commisimus scimus te luere?

Alone the Victim-Lord goes forth to slaughter,
Stooping to Death, beneath whom Death must die;
And we, the fat offenders, how can we answer
The charge of sin Thou bearest slow away.

Nostra sunt, Domine, nostra sunt crimina:
quid tua criminum facis supplicia?
quibus sic compati fac nostra pectora,
ut vel compassio digna sit venia.

For ours, ah my God, the crimes are ours,
And as the criminal must Thou atone?
For this compel our hearts to suffer passion;
Suffering at last may make us stretch to pardon.

Nox ista flebilis praesensque triduum
quod demorabitur fletus sit vesperum,
donec laetitiae mane gratissimum
surgente Domino sit maestis redditum.

Make this a night of tears, a three-day-space
When weeping holds back time, darkened with Vespers,
Until the grateful morning give again
The joy of the rising Son to the sorrowing.

Tu tibi compati sic fac nos, Domine,
tuae participes ut simus gloriae;
sic praesens triduum in luctu ducere,
ut risum tribuas paschalis gratiae.

Make us to suffer so for Thee, my Lord,
That we with Thee may come to glory too,
Treading our triple night through such a gloom
As breaks to laughter of Grace on Easter morn.

(Peter Abelard, 1079-1142)

1 comment:

  1. Dear David
    This is a beautiful poem, bringing much depth to the story of Eastertide. The only reference I know of these words is the BEAUTIFUL setting by Kenneth Leighton of these words, which is so profound, as much of his church music is.
    Thankyou for sharing such great literature with us. with love