The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Eia mea anima

Author: Johannes Mauburnus, Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium et sacrarum meditationum (1494), a Rosary on the Birth of Christ

Source: Guido Maria Dreves, Analecta Hymnica, Vol. 48,"Hymni inediti. Liturgische Hymnen des Mittelalters (1888), pp. 515-517.

494. (1.) Carmen pro Fescenninis ad praesepii visitationem canendum sub nota: Dies et laetitiae.

1. Eia, mea anima, 
     Bethlehem eamus,
Virtute magnanima 
     Puerum quaeramus,
Verbum ineffabile, 
Angelis mirabile, 
     Cubans sinu patris, 
Obiectum amabile, 
Semper contemplabile, 
     Datum vitae matris. 
2. Virgo pudicitiae, 
     Throne deitatis, 
Et Ioseph, nutritie 
     Iesu paupertatis, 
Me indignum famulum 
Ducatis ad stabulum 
     Mei creatoris, 
Tundam tintinnabulum 
Laudis et cunabulum 
     Volvam vi amoris.
3. O puer dulcissime, 
     Omnibus optate, 
Venisti, gratissime 
     Salutis legate ? 
Te vatum oracula, 
Te legis umbracula 
     Exortum testantur, 
Polus, tellus, maria 
Laude multifaria 
     Tibi adiocantur. 
4. Heu, quid iaces stabulo, 
     Omnium creator, 
Vagiens cunabulo, 
     Mundi reparator ? 
Si rex, ubi purpura 
Vel clientum murmura 
     Ubi aula regis? — 
Hic omnis penuria, 
Paupertalis curia, 
     Forma novae legis.
5. Istuc amor generis 
     Me traxit humani, 
Quod se noxa sceleris 
     Occidit profani, 
His meis inopiis 
Gratiarum copiis 
     Te pergo ditare, 
Hocce natalitio 
Vero sacrificio 
     Te volens beare. 
6. O caeli, attendite 
     Infantis amorem, 
Angeli, rependite 
     Laudem et honorem, 
Verbum, ens altissimum 
Pulchrum, quam dulcissimum, 
     Limo corporatur, 
Verbum divinissimum, 
Aeternum, ditissimum, 
     Spretum pauperatur. 
7. O mira dignatio 
     Immensum locari, 
Nostra gloriatio 
     Deum humanari ! 
O stupor, o gaudium! 
Hostis technas fraudium 
     Tuus ludit ortus, 
Iam orbi quadrifido 
Tibi gnato fervido 
     Caeli patet portus. 
8. Salve, rex, principium, 
     Verbum incarnatum, 
Effectum mancipium 
     Indignum, cunatum ! 
Salve, sordens stabulum, 
Salveto, eunabulum 
     Sponsi amatoris ! 
Tu meum latibulum, 
Construam hic nidulum, 
     Non videbor foris. 
9. Iam te meis brachiis, 
     Mi Iesu, amplector 
Ac totis praecordiis 
     Tibi condelector; 
Cogis me rasluere, 
Lacrimis effluere, 
     Puer Ephrataee, 
Amor ineffabilis 
Es, intolerabilis, 
     Iesu Nazaraee. 
10. O ardens incendium, 
     Deus incarnate, 
Animae suspendium 
     Tibi desponsatae ! 
Omni reverentia, 
Caeli assistentia 
     Laude te honoro, 
Cum benevolentia, 
Grata complacentia 
     Pronus te adoro. 
11. O lt laudum milibus 
     Laudo, laudo, laudo, 
Tantis mirabilibus 
     Plaudo, plaudo, plaudo; 
Gloria sit, gloria 
Amanti, memoria 
     Domino in altis, 
Cui testimonia 
Dantur et praeconia 
     Caelieis a psaltis. 
12. O puer dulcissime, 
     Me purges lustrato 
Surrigas, altissime, 
     Corde inflammato; 
Redimens vivifica, 
Me compuerifica 
     Hoc tuo natali. 
Perfecte sanctitica, 
Tecum beatifica 
     Vita aeternali. 
13. Pater, natalitium 
     Suscipe sophiae, 
Gratum sacrificium 
     Manibus Mariae ; 
Corpus, sensus, animam 
In viventem victimam 
     Lito Iesu nato 
Et sponsae unanimam 
Laudem suavissimam 
     Libans voto grato. 
Note from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II, and New Supplement (1907), alt.

Eia mea anima, Bethlehem eamus. J. Mauburn. [Christmas.] In his Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium et sacrarum meditationum, N. P. 1494 [Brit. Mus.], this is found at folio 104 b, as a Rosary on the Birth of Christ, in 13 stanzas of 10 lines. The full text is also in Wackernagel, i. No. 402, and in Dreves, xlviii., p. 515.

Three stanzas, beginning with stanza iv., "Heu quid jaces stabulo," passed into many of the older German hymn-books, and are found as a separate hymn in Rambach, i., p. 371; Daniel, i., No. 481; and Trench, 1864, p. 114. These stanzas have also been translated from the Latin into English, as "Dost Thou In A Manger Lie," by Mrs. Elizabeth Charles, 1858, p. 174. Also in the Hymnary, 1872. Another translation of "Heu quid jaces" is "Ah! Lord God, The World's Creator," by G. R. Woodward in his Songs of Syon, 1904.

Editor's Note:

There were numerous translations of Heu! quid jaces stabulo. See the notes under that title.

John Mauburn was born at Brussels in 1460, and died Abbot of the Cloister of Livry, not far from Paris, in 1502 or 1503. He was the author of several ascetic treatises, among others the highly regarded Rosetum Spirituale. See: Ulrike Hascher-Burger, “Music and Meditation: Songs in Johannes Mauburnus's Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium,” in Church History and Religious Culture, Vol 88, Issue 3 (2008), pp. 347-369. The Article can be purchased for $30.00  Abstract:

The Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium et sacrarum meditationum of Johannes Mauburnus is considered the most extensive and influential treatise on meditation in the circles of the late Devotio Moderna. It was printed in five editions from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth century. Besides instructions for numerous meditations of varying length, this treatise contains seven religious songs which were intended to stir up the emotions and facilitate the correct disposition for meditation. These songs were created as contrafacts, meaning that the newly composed texts were sung to well-known melodies of liturgical hymns and religious songs. In song rubrics, Mauburnus gives precise instructions about their function as an aid to summoning the motivation for the great number of spiritual exercises that had to be accomplished by the adherents of the Devotio Moderna every day.

A unique feature of the Rosetum is the combination of a concrete meditation with a corresponding written song. These songs have not yet been examined systematically. The texts were edited by Guido Maria Dreves in Analecta hymnica on the basis of the edition printed in Paris in 1510. The melodies have not yet been reconstructed. In this article, the seven contrafacts are studied for the first time from the point of view of their structure and function, and their melodies are reconstructed on the basis of liturgical sources associated with the Devotio Moderna.

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.


Related Hymns and Carols