The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Mittit ad Virginem

Hymn for the Annunciation.

Words: Mittit ad Virginem, Attributed to Peter Abelard

Music: Tune 1: Sequence from the Salisbury Gradual.
Tune 2: Another letting of the same melody From the Salisbury Gradual; Harmonised by the Rev. S. S. Greatheed.

Source: Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #95, pp. 186-188.

 "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God
unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ;
and the Virgin's name was Mary."
S. Luke 1: 26-27.

1. Mittit ad Virginem
Non quemvis Angelum :
Sed fortitudinem
Suam, Archangelum ;—
    Amator hominis.

2. Fortem expediat
Pro nobis nuncium,
Naturae faciat
Ut prejudicium
    In partu Virginis.

3. Naturam superet
Natus Bex glorirae ;
Regnet et imperet
Ut zyma scoriae
    Tollat de medio.

4. Superbientium
Terat fastigia ;
Colla sublimium
Calcet vi propria
    Potens in praelio.

5. Foras ejiciat
Mundanum principem ;
Sponsamque faciat
Secom participem
    Patris imperii.

6. Exi qui mitteris ;
Haec dona dissere ;
Revela veteris
Velamen literae
    Virtute nuntii.

7. Accede,—nuntia,—
Dic Ave cominus ;
Dic Plena Gratia,
Dic Tecum Dominut ;
    Et dic, Ne timeas.

8. Virgo suscipias
Dei depositum ;
In quo perficias
Castum proposituum,
    Et votum teneas.

9. Audit et suscipit
Puella nuncium ;
Credit et concipit,
Et parit Filium ;
    Sed Admirabilem ;

10. Conciliarium
Humani generis,
Et Deum fortium
Et Patrem posteris
    In pace stabilem.

Sheet Music from Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #95, pp. 186-188.

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Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), #95, pp. 311-319.

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Sheet Music From Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal. London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885, #78. pp. 255-259.

Note from John Julian, ed., Dictionary of Hymnology (1892), p. 760:

Mittit ad Virginem. [Annunciation of the B. V. M.] This sequence has generally been ascribed to Peter Abelard (1079-1142), but is not found in the collection of hymns and sequences which he made for the convent of the Paraclete. Cousin, in his edition of Abelard's Opera, Paris, 1849, vol. i. p. 328, gives the text from Clichtoveus, &c, and says his authorship is uncertain ; though the hymn is not unworthy of him. Mone, No. 343, prints from a 13th cent. MS. at St. Paul, in Carinthia, and other sources: and Daniel, ii. p. 59, from a 13th cent. Munich MS., &c.

It is also in the Sarum (MS. in the Bodleian, c. 1370, Barlow, 5, page 450); Hereford (MS. in the Bodleian, c. 1370); York (MS. in the Bodleian, c. 1390) ; Magdeburg of 1450 ; Paris of 1481, and other Missels. The text is also in Wackernagel i., No. 182; Kehrein, No. 199, &c.

Translated as :—

1. To The Virgin He Sends No Inferior Angel. By J. M. Neale, in the enlarged ed. of the Hymnal Noted, 1854, and the Altar Hymnal, 1884.

2. He Sends To The Virgin No Lowlier Angel. By R. F. Littledale, in the People's Hymnal, #243, 1867, under the signature of P. C. E., i.e. "Priest of the Church of England."

Another translation is :—

"No one lower in grade To the Virgin," &c. C. B. Pearson, 1868. [J. M.]

Editor's Note:

Numerous recordings are available at YouTube, and I enjoyed the recording of the setting by Guillaume Dufay at

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