The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Verbum supernum prodiens e Patris

Hymnus 38.

For Advent: Matins

Words: From the Paris Breviary, 1736
Altered from
Verbum supernum prodien a Patre (Anonymous Latin, 6th or 7th Century; an Advent Hymn), with notes

Verbum Supernum Prodiens - Version 1 (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Verbum Supernum Prodiens - Version 2  (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Verbum supernum prodiens - Version 3  (St. Thomas Aquinas)

English Translations:
Thy Father's Bosom Thou Didst Leave
Celestial Word, To This Our Earth
O Heavenly Word, Eternal Light
O Thou, Who Thine Own Father's Breast
The Period Is Come, And Lo, To-day

Supernal Word, Proceeding From

Source: Rev. John Chandler, The Hymns of the Primitive Church (London: John W. Parker, 1837), pp. 167-168.

Verbum supernum prodiens,
E Patris exiens sinu,
Qui natus orbi subvenis,
Labente cursu temporis:

Illumina nunc pectora,
Tuoque amore concrema;
Ut cor vacans inanibus
Coeli voluptas impleat;

Ut cum Tribunal judicis
Damnabit igni noxios,
Et vox amica debitum
Vocabit ad ceslum pios,

Non esca flammarum nigros
Volvamur inter turbines,
Vultu Dei sed compotes
Coeli fruamur gaudiis.

Patri, simulque Filio
Tibique, Sancte Spiritus,
Sicut fiiit, sit jugiter
Seclum per omne gloria.

Notes from Rev. Matthew Britt:

Source: Rev. Matthew Britt, O.S.B., Hymns from the Breviary and Missal (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1922), pp. 97-98.

Author: Ambrosian, 5th or 6th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation: Celestial Word, To This Our Earth by W. J. Courthope (bio below). There are about thirty translations, four of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on Sundays and week-days during Advent. There is an article on this hymn in the Cath. Encycl.

1. "O Heavenly Word proceeding from the bosom of the Eternal Father, Thou wast born, and didst come to the aid of the world, in the fleeting course of time." Verbum, the Word, the Eternal Son (cf. John 1, 1-14). Constr.: Qui labente cursu temporis (abl. absol.) natus es (et) orbi subvenis.

2. "Enlighten Thou our hearts and inflame them with Thy love, that the joys of heaven may fill the heart which abandons perishable things." Constr.: Ut voluptas cúli impleat cor deserens caduca.

3-4. "That when the tribunal of the Judge shall condemn the guilty to the flames, and a friendly voice shall call the just to the heaven due to them, may we then not be cast headlong into the black whirlpool as the food of flames, but participating in the beatific vision, may we enjoy the pleasures of heaven." Debitum: due to them, because promised to them by Christ. Constr.: Ut non volvamur esca flammarum inter nigros turbines, sed compotes vultu Dei fruamur gaudiis Cúli.

Translator: William John Courthope, LL.D. (1842-1885), was educated at Harrow, and New College, Oxford. Mr. Courthope was professor of poetry at Oxford, 1895-1901. Author of History of English Poetry, 4 volumes, 1895-1903. He contributed five beautiful translations of Latin hymns to Church Hymns, 1903; through the kindness of The Macmillan Company all of these spirited translations appear in this volume. Hymns: 14, 16, 18, 27, 36. Source: Britt, pp. 364-365.

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