The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Clavis David

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.

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: Abbott Prosper Louis Paschal Guéranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Vol. 1, Advent. Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1948, pp. 493-4. Translation by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B.

DECEMBER 2O

FOURTH ANTIPHON

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

O Jesus, Son of David! heir to his throne and his power! Thou art now passing over, in Thy way to Bethlehem, the land that once was the kingdom of Thy ancestor, but now is tributary to the Gentiles. Scarce an inch of this ground which has not witnessed the miracles of the justice and mercy of Jehovah, Thy Father, to the people of the old Covenant, which is so soon to end. Before long, when Thou hast come from beneath the virginal cloud which now hides Thee, Thou wilt pass along this same road doing good, 1 healing all manner of sickness and every infirmity, 2 and yet having not where to lay Thy head. 3 Now, at least, Thy Mother’s womb affords Thee the sweetest rest, and Thou receivest from her the profoundest adoration and the tenderest love. But, dear Jesus, it is Thine own blessed will that Thou leave this loved abode. Thou hast, O eternal Light, to shine in the midst of this world’s darkness, this prison where the captive, whom Thou hast come to deliver, sits in the shadow of death. Open his prison-gates by Thy all-powerful key. And who is this captive, but the human race, the slave of error and vice? Who is this captive, but the heart of man, which is thrall to the very passions it blushes to obey? Oh! come and set at liberty the world Thou hast enriched by Thy grace, and the creatures whom Thou hast made to be Thine own brethren.

ANTIPHON TO THE ANGEL GABRIEL

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

Notes from Dom Guéranger:

1. Acts x. 38. Return

2. St. Matt. iv. 23. Return

3. St. Luke ix. 58. Return

Note:

The fourth of the seven Great Antiphons. See Guéranger's Preface: The Commencement of the Great Antiphons.

All of Guéranger's commentaries:

See: The Great Advent Antiphons, The O Antiphons, and The Prose Antiphons.

See also O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Version 1, and Christ by Cynewulf.

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