The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

En clara vox redarguit

Lauds during Advent

Author: Anonymous "Ambrosian"

English Translations:
Hark! A Herald Voice Is Calling, Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)
A Heavenly Voice And Early Ray - (Probably) John Dryden, 1685- 1700
Hark, A Joyful Voice is Thrilling - John Henry, Cardinal Newman
Hark, An Awful Voice is Sounding - Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)

Source: Rev. Matthew Britt, O.S.B., Hymns from the Breviary and Missal (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1922), Hymn 37, pp. 99-100.

En clara vox redarguit
Obscura quaeque personalis:
Procul fugentur somnia:
Ab alto Jesus promicat.

Mens jam resurgat torpida,
Non amplius jacens humi:
Sidus refulget jam novum,
Ut tollat omne noxium.

En Agnus ad nos mittitur
Laxare gratis debitum:
Omnes simul cum lacrimis
Precemur indulgentiam:

Ut, cum secundo fulserit,
Metuque mundum cinxerit,
Non pro reatu puniat,
Sed nos pius tunc protegat.

Virtus, honor, laus, gloria
Deo Patri cum Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito,
In sęculorum saecula.

Notes by Rev. Britt:

Author: Ambrosian, 5th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by Father Caswall, first line altered. First line of Original Text: Vox clara ecce intonat. There are twenty-seven translations, seven of which are from the Original Text. The Annus Sanctus contains three translations. This beautiful hymn breathes the spirit of Advent: it is an excellent summary of the Epistle (Rom. 13, 11-14), and of the Gospel (Luke 21, 25-33) of the first Sunday of Advent. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Lauds on Sundays and week-days during Advent.

1. "Lo, a clear voice exhorts, penetrating everything darksome: Let dreams be banished afar: Jesus shines forth from heaven." Clara vox: These words are probably an allusion to the great preacher of penance, St. John the Baptist, who said of himself: Ego vox clamantis in deserto: dirigite viam Domini, sicut dixit Isaias propheta (John 1, 23: Is. 40, 3). Redarguit: lit., to contradict, refute; to admonish, urge to penance. This stanza might also be rendered: "Behold, a clear penetrating voice reveals the falsity of darksome things," etc.

2. "Let the slothful soul now rise, no longer remaining prostrate on the ground: a new star now shines forth to take away everything harmful." Sidus novum = Christus. Christ was the star that was to rise out of Jacob (Num. 24, 17), and take away the sins of the world (John 1, 29). Noxium, sinful.

3. "Behold, the Lamb is sent to us, to pay our debt gratuitously: together, let us all with tears pray for pardon." Agnus: In the Scriptures, the lamb is a most common symbol of Our Lord (cf. Is. 53, 7; Jer. 11, 19; John 1, 29).

4. "That, when for the second time He comes resplendent and girdles the world with fear, He may not punish us according to our deserts, but may He then lovingly protect us.'' Fulserit = fulgens advenerit.


CASWALL, REV. EDWARD, M.A (1814-1878) was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. Convert, 1847. After his conversion he joined Cardinal Newman at the Oratory, Edgbaston. Father Caswall, despite the great names of Newman, Faber, and others, is pre-eminently "The Poet of the Oratory" (Father Matthew Russell, S.J.). With Dr. Neale, Father Caswall shares the honor of being the most felicitous of the translators of our Latin Hymns. His translations appeared in his Lyra Catholica, in 1848, the year following his reception into the Church. "Caswall's translations of Latin hymns from the Roman Breviary and other sources have a wider circulation in modern hymnals than those of any other translator, Dr. Neale alone excepted. This is owing to his general faithfulness to the originals, and to the purity of his rhythm" (Dict. of Hymnol.). Many of Father Caswall's translations appear in the Annus Sanctus and are characterized by Mr. Shipley as "vigorous, dogmatic hymns." Father Caswall translated the Roman Breviary Text. Despite his undoubted ability as a translator, one can not but regret that so many of his translations are in Common Meter instead of Long Meter. Hymns: 22, 31, 32, 37, 42B, 43, 47, 54, 73, 74, 76, 78, 83, 85, 86, 88, 89, 93, 106, 107, 108, 110, 111, 112, 117, 119, 124, 125, 126, 127, 132, 134, 137, 147, 148, 152, 153, 162, 165, 167. Source: Britt, pp. 363-364.

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