Apparuit benignitas

Item de nativitate Domini hymnus

Authorship attributed to Thomas a Kempis.

Source: Clemens Blume and Guido Maria Dreves, S.J., eds., Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Vol. 48, Hymnographi Latini: Lateinische Hymnendichter des Mittelalters. Erste Folge. (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1905), #472, Item de nativitate Domini hymnus, pp. 487-488. First Line: Apparuit benignitas. Attributed to Thomas a Kempis.

1. Apparuit benignitas
Dei nec non humanitas
Ex caritate nimia
Ad nos atque gratuita.

2. O amor quam exstaticus,
Quam effluens, quam nimius,
Qui Deum, Dei filium,
Unum fecit mortalium!

3. Affectu superfervido,
Quo nos tulit ab aeterno,
Nequibat se comprimere,
Qui venit nos invisere.

4. Non invisit nos angelo,
Seu supremo seu infimo,
Carnis assumens pallium
Venit ad nos per se ipsum.

5. In se cum invisibilis
Sit nostris lippis oculis,
Tectus mortali tunica
Huc processit ad publica.

6. Non solum se ostendere
Voluit, sed convivere
Deus homo hominibus
Hic annis triginta tribus.

7. Nascitur nobis hodie
Pauper, exsul [rex gloriae],
Nobis vagit praesaepio
Iunctus bovi et asino.

8. Post nobis circumciditur
Nobis et Iesus dicitur,
Pro nobis stellae visio,
Nobis Iesu oblatio.

9. Nobis baptisma suscipit,
Nobis ieiunans esurit,
Nobis et Satan hunc temptat,
Nobis temptantem superat.

10. Nobis orat et praedicat,
Pro nobis cuncta factitat,
Verbis, signis et actibus
Nos quaerens, non se penitus.

11. Pro nobis comprehenditur,
Flagellatur, conspuitur,
Crucis perfert patibulum,
Pro nobis traclit spiritum.

12. Nobis surgit a mortuis.
Nobis se transfert superis,
Nobis suum dat spiritum
In robur, in solacium.

13. Vere talis dilectio
Non audita a saeculo
De creatura aliqua
Humana vel angelica.

14. Homo talera non liabuit,
Quia transgressor exstitit,
Defuit hoc et angelo
Fervore nirais tepido.

15. Dic, quis unquam spirituum
Hic pro salute homiiium
Incarnari se pertulit,
Non dico crucem subiit?

16. Hoc summus fecit Dominus
Sua bonitate tractus,
Qui natus dedit pretium,
Quo mortis solvit debitum.

17. Hinc ex plena laetitia
Concinamus nunc Gloria
Sit Deo in altissimis

Una cum laetis angelis.

18. Hos si replet sic gaudio
Nostri congratulatio,
Nos, o, quantum gaudebimus,
[Pro] quibus Christus est natus!

19. Delectemur in proprio
Nobis nunc nato Domino,
Tot hunc mulcentes osculis,
Quot eius membra corporis.

20. Transeamus in Bethlehem,
Quo natus rex Ierusalem,
Cernamus cum pastoribus
Verbum, quod fecit Dominus.

21. En, infans sapientia,
Puer, qui ante omnia,
Deus pannis involvitur,
In praesaepio ponitur.

22. Summa cum reverentia
Adoremus hic singula,
Dilectio hunc compulit,
Quod hoc Dominus pertulit.

23. Deo patri sit gloria
Per infinita saecula,
Cuius amore nimio
Salvi simus in filio.

Note.

A cento from this hymn is O amor quam extaticus, translated by Rev. Benjamin Webb in the Hymnal Noted (1854), O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High. That translation has been altered on several occasions.

Notes from John Julian, ed., Dictionary of Hymnology (1892, 1905), p. 76.

Apparuit benignitas. [Christmas.] A beautiful poem on the Incarnation quoted by Mone, No. 51, from a 15th cent. MS. at Karlsruhe in 92 lines. There is no translation of the whole poem, but a cento beginning with line 5, O amor quam exitaticui, was translated by the Rev. Benjamin Webb, for the Hymnal Noted, 1854, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines, the doxology being an addition to the original text. This translation, considerably altered in some instances, has passed into the Salisbury Hymn Book, 1857 ; Hymns, Ancient & Modern, 1861; People's Hymnal, 1867; the S. P. C. K. Church Hymnal, 1871; the Hymnary, 1872; Thring's Collection, 1882, and others. It begins in each hymnal: "O Love, how deep, how broad, how high!" The original lines translated are given in L. C. Biggs's Hymns, Ancient & Modern, 1867, p. 177.

Thomas of Kempen, p. 1167, ii. The hymns of Thomas a Kempis have been edited, with a short biographical notice, in Dreves, xlviii., Nos. 458-493. Nine of them have been separately annotated in this Dictionary. Four were given with his name, viz., "Adversa mundi," at p. 23, ii.; "Jerusalem luminosa," at pp. 579, ii., and 793, i.; "Nec quisquam," at p. 793, i.; and "O qualis," at p. 845, ii.

The others are : "Apparuit benignitas," p. 76, i.; "En dies est dominica," p. 330, ii.; "In domo Patris," p. 563, ii.; "Quisquis valet numerare," p. 947, ii.; "Veni, veni, Rex gloriae," p. 1216, i.

These are found in a Carlsruhe MS. of the 15th cent. (No. 368; this MS. also has "Jerusalem luminosa" and "Nee quisquam"), but they are neither in the Opera of Thomas, nor in the Zwolle MS., c. 1480, of his "Cantica Spiritualia " (see p. 1168, i.). Dreves is probably right in ascribing them to Thomas, but he does not give his reasons for doing so. [J. M.] Source: Dictionary of Hymnology, p. 1713.

Appendix II, p. 1551.
Apparuit benignitas, p. 76, i. The translation here attributed to Dr. Neale was really by the late Rev. B. Webb, (p. 1245, i.), as we learnt from him, and not by Dr. Neale. No. 64, in J. A. Johnston's English Hymnal, 1856 and 1861, "O height, O breadth, O depth of love," is based upon Webb's translation, as is also "O love divine, to guilty men," in Philadelphia Presbyterian Set., 1861.

New Supplement, p. 1606.
Apparuit benignitas, p. 76, l. The translation of "O amor quam exstaticus," was made by B. Webb, and not by J. M. Neale.

Editor's Note.

The 1905 edition evidently is correcting an error in the 1892 edition that gave attribution to Rev. Neale.

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