Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FW: Christe sanctorum decus (corr. H. Bonnus)



Posted on: Sunday, September 11, 2011 6:29 PM
Author: Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes)
Subject: Christe sanctorum decus (corr. H. Bonnus)


Here is my translation of Hermann Bonnus' correction to Rabanus Maurus' hymn for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. I have attempted to translate it twice, on the basis of each commonly used versions, one unrhymed and the other rhymed, since the first and last stanzas are largely the same as the original. The sixth stanza is a generic doxology for this meter, apparently from St. Gregory the Great. Since that of Riley is less literal (Dearmer does no better), I have provided an alternate translation, and also direct the reader to the superior doxology provided in the other (Roman use) translation. The following tune is that appointed in Lossius Psalmodia (1579).


Adaptation of English Hymnal #242 (based on A. Riley, 1906):
CHRIST, THE FAIR glory of the holy angels,
Thou who hast made us, Thou who o'er us rulest,
Grant of Thy mercy for our supplications
Steps up to heaven.

2. Give holy angels charge o'er every dwelling,
That they may keep us, standing as our watchmen,
From Satan's foul attacks our souls defending,
His snares dispelling.

3. So make Thy Word proclaimed without perversion,
Nor any sect of doctrine false to flourish,
Lest it succeed our senses in deluding
By faith's appearance.

4. As once Thine Angel Michael was triumphant,
Seizing the vict'ry o'er the prince of Persia,
So make Thy peace once more to dwell among us
E'en at the present.

5. Thine Angel grant to govern all the living,
Lending support in all our earthly labors
That in their sum they may to Thee be pleasing:
O Christ, we pray Thee.

6. This may the blessed Godhead vouchsafe to us:
Father and Son and Holy Spirit equal,
Whose glory fills the world with fairest echo
Now and forever. (Amen.)

Riley's original doxology:
6. Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be Thou our preserver;
Thine is the glory which the angels worship,
Veiling their faces.

Roman translation:
This be our portion [older: This He vouchsafe us…], God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory, which through all creation
ever resoundeth. (Amen.)

Translation sts. 1, 6 alt., Composite;
sts. 2-6. © Matthew Carver, 2011.

Correction of alternate translation (based on T.I. Ball, 1921):
CHRIST, OF THE Angels praise and adoration,
Maker of all men, Lord of every nation,
Graciously let our earnest pray'r be given
Steps up to heaven.

2. Thy holy angels to our dwellings send us,
Charge them as guardians ever to attend us,
And keep us safe from Satan's wicked cunning,
His ruses stunning.

3. That in all truth Thy Word may be presented,
And any sects of doctrine false prevented,
Lest they by outward piety's pretenses
Ensnare our senses.

4. Michael the Angel, once the rival quelling,
Triumph obtained, Persia's prince repelling,—
Let peace be wrought again amid the foment,
E'en in this moment.

5. May Thy good angel rule and govern o'er us,
And in our labors help and go before us,
That they may please Thee, nor by sin dismay Thee;
This, Christ, we pray Thee.

6. O May the Godhead, endless bliss possessing, 

Father and Son and Spirit, grant this blessing; 

Whose glory, all the universe pervading

Knoweth no fading.

Translation st. 1 Composite, st. 6, 
sts. 2–5 © Matthew Carver, 2011.


1. Christe, sanctorum decus Angelorum
Auctor humani generis et rector,
Supplices nobis, tribuas rogamus
scandere caelum.

2. Angelos sanctos jubeas ubique
Esse custodes, vigilesque nostros,
Impetus contra Satanae malignos,

3. Ut tuum verbum doceatur apte,
Nulla perversi valeatque secta
Dogmatis nostros, pietate ficta,
Fallere sensus.

4. Angelus quondam Michael triumphum
Regibus Persis reparavit, idem
Publicam pacem, tueatur omni
Tempore nobis.

5. Angelus vitam regat universam,
Adjuvet nostros simul et labores,
Cuncta quòd possint tibi comprobari,
Christe precamur.

6. Praestet hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris ac Nati, pariterque Sancti
Spiritus, cuius reboat per omnem
gloria mundum. (Amen.)


1. CHRISTE, sanctorum decus Angelorum
Rector humani generis et auctor,
nobis aeternum tribue benigne
scandere caelum.

2. ANGELUM pacis, Michael ad istam
caelitus mitte, rogitamus aulam:
nobis ut crebro veniente crescant
prospera cuncta.

3. ANGELUS fortis Gabriel, ut hostem
pellat antiquum, volitet ab alto,
saepius templum veniat ad istud
visere nostrum.

4. ANGELUM nobis medicum salutis
mitte de caelis Raphael, ut omnes
sanet aegrotos, pariterque nostros
dirigat actus.

5. HINC Dei nostri Genetrix Maria,
totus et nobis chorus Angelorum
semper assistat, simul et beata
concio tota.

6. PRAESTET hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris ac Nati pariterque Sancti
Spiritus, cuius resonat per omnem
gloria mundum. Amen.


1. Christe, sanctorum decus Angelorum,
Gentis humanae sator et redemptor,
Coelitum nobis tribuas beatas
Scandere sedes.

2. Angelus pacis Michael in aedes
Coelitus nostras veniat, serenae
Auctor ut pacis lacrimosa in orcum
Bella releget.

3. Angelus fortis Gabriel, ut hostes
Pellat antiquos, et arnica coelo,
Quae triumphator statuit per orbem,
Templa revisat.

4. Angelus nostrae medicus salutis,
Adsit e coelo Raphael, ut omnes
Sanet aegrotos, dubiosque vitae
Dirigat actus.

5. Virgo dux pacis, Genitrixquae lucis,
Et sacer nobis chorus Angelorum
Semper assistat, simul et micantis
Regia coeli.

6. Praestet hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris, ac Nati, pariterque sancti
Spiritus, cujus resonat per omnem
Gloria mundum.

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