The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Five Prose Antiphons

For Advent

Words: Veni, Veni, Emanuel (the "O" Antiphons),
Authorship Unknown, 8th Century Latin;
Published As A Hymn in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, 7th Edition, Köln, 1710.

Music: "Veni Emmanuel," Based on a 15th Century French Processional,
Arranged by Rev. Thomas Helmore  and harmonized by Rev. S. S. Greatheed in
Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)
and

Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted-Part II
(London: 1858)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Meter: 88 88 88

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

This page is intended to allow parallel review of some of the prose translations of the Great Antiphons that formed the basis of the Christmas Hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore (originally as Draw Nigh, Draw Nigh, Emmanuel).

The five English prose translations on this page include:

December 17: "O Sapientia..." (O Wisdom)

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O eternal Wisdom, which proceedest from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end of creation unto the other, mightily and harmoniously disposing all things: come Thou to teach us the way of understanding.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Wisdom, Which camest forth out of the mouth of the Most High, and reachest from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things; Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Wisdom, that proceedest from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end mightily, and disposing all things sweetly! come and teach us in the way of prudence.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O WISDOM, which didst come forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from the one end of all things to the other, and ordering them with sweetness and might: Come, that Thou mayest teach us the way of understanding.

 

December 18: "O Adonai..." (O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel)

O Adonai, et dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O Lord, and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appearedst unto Moses in the flame of a burning bush, and gavest to him the Law in Sinai: Come to redeem us with a stretched out arm.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel, Who appearedst unto Moses in a flame of fire in the bush, and gavest unto him the Law of Sinai: Come redeem us with a stretched-out arm.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst to Moses in the fire of the flaming bush, and gavest him the law on Sinai; come and redeem us by thy outstretched arm.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, who appearest in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the Law in Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstreatched arm.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O Lord of lords, and Leader of the house of Israel, who didst appear unto Moses in a flame of fire in the bush, and gavest Thy law in Sinai: Come, that Thou mayest redeem us with Thy stretched-out arm.

 

December 19: "O Radix Jesse..." (O Root of Jesse)

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur; veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardere.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O Root of Jesse, who art placed for a sign of the people, before whom kings shall shut their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall supplicate: come Thou to deliver us, do not tarry.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Root of Jesse, Who standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom Kings shall shut their mouths, unto Whom the Gentiles shall pray: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Root of Jesse, who standest as the ensign of the people; before whom kings shall not open their lips; to whom the nations shall pray: come and deliver us; tarry now no more.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall shut their mouths, and to whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come, that Thou mayest deliver us; tarry not, we beseech Thee.

 

December 20: "O Clavis David..." (O Key of David)

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O Key of David and Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and none shutteth, who shuttest and none openeth: come Thou, and bring forth the captive from the house of bondage, who sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Key of David, and Scepture of the House of Israel, Thou That openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest, and no man openeth: Come, and lose the prisoner from the prison house, and him that sitteth in darkness, from the shadow of death.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Key of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel! who openest, and no man shutteth: who shuttest, and no man openeth; come, and lead the captive from prison, sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel; that openest, and no man shutteth, and shuttest, and no man openeth: Come and bring the prisoner out of the prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness and the shadow of death.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel: Thou who openest and no man shutteth, who shuttest and no man openeth: Come, that Thou mayest bring forth from the prison-house him that is bound, sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

 

December 21: "O Oriens..." (O Dawn of the East (Dayspring))

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentis in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O Rising Brightness of the Everlasting Light and Sun of Righteousness: come Thou and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Orient, Brightest of the Eternal Light, and Sun of Righteousness: Come and lighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Orient! splendour of eternal light, and Sun of justice! come and enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Day-spring, Brightest of Light Everlasting, and Sun of Ritghteousness: Come and enlighten him that sitteth in the drkness and the shadow of death.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O dawning brightness of the everlasting Light, and Sun of Righteousness: Come, that Thou mayest enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

 

December 22: "O Rex..." (O King of the Gentiles (Nations))

O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unem: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O King and the Desire of all nations, and chief Corner-stone, who makest two to be one: come Thou and save man whom Thou formedst from the clay.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O King of the Gentiles, and their Desire, the Corner-stone, Who madest both one: Come and save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O King of nations, and their desired One, and the corner-stone that makest both one; come and save man whom thou formedst out of slime.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O King of the Nations, and their desire; the Corner-stone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O King and Desire of all nations, the Corner-Stone uniting all in one: Come, that Thou mayest save man, whom Thou hast formed out of the ground by Thy hand.

 

December 23: "O Emmanuel..."

O Emmanuel, Rex et legisfer noster, expectatio gentium, et Salvator erum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.

Cardinal Newman, 1836

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the gatherer of the people and their Saviour: come Thou to save us, O Lord our God.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all Nations, and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expectation and Saviour of the nations! come and save us, O Lord our God!

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations, and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition, 1872

O Emmanuel, our King and our Lawgiver, the Expectation and the Saviour of the Gentiles: Come, that Thou mayest save us, O Lord our God.

 

Additional Antiphon: O Virgo Virginum

O Virgo Virginum, quomodo fiet istud? quia nec primam similem visa es, nec habere sequentem.

The Salisbury Antiphonary / The Hymnal Noted

O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was there any like thee, nor shall there be after. — Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing that ye behold is a divine mystery.

Dom Guéranger, ca. 1841, 1867

O Virgin of Virgins! how shall this be? for never was there one like thee, nor will there ever be. Ye daughters of Jerusalem, why look ye wondering at me? What ye behold, is a divine mystery.

The English Hymnal, 1906

O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.

The Greater Antiphons of The Salisbury Antiphonary from Neale and Helmore, Hymnal Noted - Parts I and II (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1851), pp. 207-209.

The Greater Antiphons of The Salisbury Antiphonary from Neale and Helmore, Hymnal Noted - Parts I and II (London: J. Alfred Novello, 1856), pp. 207-209.

  Ed. Note: The words in these editions are identical.

See: The Great Advent Antiphons


Four Additional Antiphons

Source: Dom Guéranger, Advent.

Antiphon To The Angel Gabriel

Latin: O Gabriel! nuntius cœlorum, qui januis clausis ad me intrasti, et Verbum nunciasti: Concipies et paries: Emmanuel vocabitur.

Translation: O Gabriel! the messenger of heaven, who camest unto me through the closed doors, and didst announce the Word unto me: Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son, and he shall be called Emmanuel.

Antiphon To St. Thomas

Latin: O Thoma Didyme! qui Christum meruisti cernere; te precibus rogamus altisonis, succurre nobis miseris; ne damnemur cum impiis, in adventu Judicis.

Translation: O Thomas Didymus! who didst merit to see Christ; we beseech thee, by most earnest supplication, help us miserable sinners, lest we be condemned with the ungodly, at the coming of the Judge.

The Great Antiphon In Honour of Christ

Latin: O Rex pacifice, tu ante saecula nate, per auream egredere portam, redemptos tuos visita, et eos illuc revoca, unde ruerunt per culpam.

Translation: O King of peace! that wast born before all ages, come by the golden gate; visit them whom thou hast redeemed, and lead them back to the place whence they fell by sin.

The Great Antiphon To Jerusalem

Latin: O Hierusalem! civitas Dei summi, leva in circuitu oculos tuos; et vide Dominum tuum, quia jam veniet solvere te a vinculis.

Translation: O Jerusalem! city of the great God: lift up thine eyes round about, and see thy Lord, for he is coming to loose thee from thy chains.

Introit from The Annotated Book of Common Prayer

Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation. Ps. And let righteousness spring up together. I the Lord have created It. Glory be.

Notes:

I have been unable to locate any other reference to The Salisbury Antiphonary, cited by Neale and Helmore in Hymnal Noted. Neither is The Salisbury Hymnal found in WorldCat. A reference to it, however, is noted in "John Keble's Parishes," by Charlotte M Yonge (Macmillan and Co., 1898), where it is noted that the Hymnal was compiled by the Rev. John Mason Neale and the Rev. John Keble.

Additional notes can be found under the translation: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. See also Christ by Cynewulf, The O Antiphons, and The Great Advent Antiphons.

In Advent, Abbott Prosper Louis Guéranger, O.S.B., explored numerous topics relative to that season, including the seven Great Antiphons (plus translation four "added" antiphons). Advent is volume 1 of the 15-volume The Liturgical Year, begun circa 1841. Translation by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., circa 1867. Guéranger's Preface: The Commencement of the Great Antiphons. His commentaries on the Great Antiphons:

Sources:

W. J. Birkbeck, et al., eds., The English Hymnal. London: Oxford University Press, 1906, #734, pp. 878-879. The name of the translator was not provided.

John Henry Blunt, Ed., The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Sixth Edition (London: Rivingtons, 1872), p. 76.  

Albert S. Cook, The Christ of Cynewulf. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1900.  (http://www.archive.org/details/christpoeminthre00cyneuoft ), accessed March 25, 2007, for translations by Cardinal John Henry Newman, Tracts for the Times, No. 75 (Vol.3), 1836, pp. 183, 206-207.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, OSB, The Liturgical Year, Volume 1, Advent (ca. 1841), translated from the French by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., ca. 1867. Often reprinted.

John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted - Parts I and II. London: Novello, 1851 and 1856, pp. 207-209, for the translation from The Salisbury Antiphonary.

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