The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Veni, Redemptor Gentium

For Advent

Words: Ambrose of Milan, circa 397

Music: "Veni, Redemptor Gentium"
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML

Source: Hermann Daniel, Theusaurus Hymnologicus, Vol. 1, 1855, p. 12

1. Veni, Redemptor gentium;
Ostende partum virginis;
Miretur omne saeculum.
Talis decet partus Deo.

2. Non ex virili semine,
Sed mystico spiramine
Verbum Dei tactum est caro,
Fructusque ventris floruit.

3. Alvus tumescit virginis.
Claustrum pudoris permanet;
Vexilla virtutum micant,
Versatur in templo Deus.

4. Procedit e thalamo suo,
Pudoris aulo regia,
Geminae gigans substantiae
Alacris ut currat viam.

5. Egressus eius a Patre,
Regressus eius ad Patrem ;
Excursus usque ad inferos
Recursus ad sedem Dei.

6. Aequalis aeterno Patri,
Carnis tropaeo accingere,
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti.

7. Praesepe iam fulget tuum,
Lumenque nox spirat novum,
Quad nulla nox interpolet
Fideque iugi luceat.

8. Gloria tibi, Domine,
Qui natus es de virgine,
Cum Patre et saneto Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.

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), #12, pp. 35-36.

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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), #12.

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Neale and Helmore give this as an Evening Hymn from Christmas-Eve to the Epiphany, and cite the following verse of scripture:

Gal. iv. 4.—" When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

Rev. Helmore describes this as "One of the most celebrated hymns of S. Ambrose." Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies, Appendix, p. v.

The Latin tracks closely with Daniel, except for the last verse, which is a relatively standard doxology:

8. Deo Patri sit gloria,
Ejusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nunc et in perpetuum. Amen.

Translations include:

The first German version of this hymn was rendered by Henrik von Laufenberg, a minister of Freiburg (d. 1445): "Kum har, erlöser volkes schar." A version by another author of the fifteenth century reads as follows: "Kom, erlöser aller leute," and one from the beginning of the sixteenth century: "Erlediger der völckher khum"; and finally Luther’s version of 1524: "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," with the title, Der hymnus: Veni Redemptor gentium etc. verdeutscht.

Among the English translations we have eighteen renderings from the Latin text and ten translations from Luther’s German version. Ambrose’s hymn has been translated also into French, Portuguese, Low-German, Swedish, Icelandic, and other languages.

Source: Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook, which contains additional bibliographical material.

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