The purpose of this volume is to provide an introductory work on the hymns of the
Roman Breviary and Missal. In its pages will be found all the hymns in the
Breviary since the Bull Divino Afflatu of Pope Pius X (1911), together
with the five sequences of the Missal, and a few other hymns. There is at present
in English no work that even approximately covers this ground. Many thoughtful
men have long felt that something should be done to make our liturgical hymns
better known and better understood.
The Dies Irae, the Vexilla Regis, the Stabat Mater, the Lauda
Sion, and the Pange Lingua are of incomparably greater value to the
Christian than the greatest of pagan odes. However, the study of the ancient
classics and of Christian hymns may and should go hand in hand. Each has its own
purpose; there is no quarrel between them. The one serves to cultivate a delicate
and refined taste, the other enkindles in the soul the loftiest sentiments of
religion. The study of the former prepares one for a fuller and more generous
enjoyment of the latter.
The present volume is intended as a manual for beginners—for those who have
had no access to the many excellent works on Latin hymns edited in other
languages. The editor has no new theories of authorship to propound, no new
historical facts to announce, and in general no new interpretation of disputed
passages in the hymns. For historical data he freely acknowledges his
indebtedness to many existing works, especially to the Dictionary of Hymnology
so ably edited by the late Rev. Dr. John Julian, and the Rev. James Mearns, M.A.
The translations referred to throughout the volume are metrical translations.
There are no prose translations in English, if one excepts a considerable part of
the hymns of the Proper of the Season, which are found in Abbot
Guéranger’s great work The Liturgical Year. The metrical
versions given here represent the work of more than sixty translators, some of
whom flourished as early as the seventeenth century. In the selection of these
translations many hymn-collections and many of the finest hymn-books have been
laid under tribute. Catholic and Anglican scholars, especially since the days of
the Oxford Movement, have vied with one another in rendering our Latin hymns into
English verse. Both in the number of translators and in the quality of their work
the honors are about equally divided. It is worthy of note that Catholic scholars
have ordinarily translated the Roman Breviary Text, while Anglicans have
generally rendered the Original Text as found in the Benedictine and Dominican
Breviaries. Much time was spent in the selection of the translations that
accompany the Latin hymns. Despite the great wealth of translations the editor is
included to believe that the number of really good versions of any particular
hymn is not great. A translation, to be worthy of the name, most combine good
idiomatic English with a literal rendering of the original. The retention of the
meter of the original is also very desirable. Some translators have excelled in
one of these qualities, some in another; few have successfully combined all of
them. In not a few instances it was found necessary to restrict the choice of
translations to those made directly from the Roman Breviary Text. Often however
the two Texts while differing verbally do not differ greatly in sense. In such
instances translations of the Original Text by J. M. Neale and others are freely
given. It was a part of the instruction given the revisers of the hymns in 1632
that the meter and sense of each line should be preserved, and that expressions
should not be fundamentally altered. It need scarcely be said that this
instruction was not always followed.
Whenever ascertainable the name of the translator of each hymn is given.
Statements as to authorship do not as a rule include Doxologies, Latin or
English. Considerable liberty was taken in the selection of English Doxologies.
The number of English translations is given under each hymn. The number of
translations credited to a hymn is based in great part on the versions mentioned
in Julian’s Dictionary of Hymnology and in Duffield’s Latin
Hymn-Writers. To these lists have been added several recent translations. All
such lists are necessarily incomplete.
The editor is not unconscious of the many shortcomings and imperfections of the
present volume; but if it will serve to enkindle in the hearts of beginners,
especially of young men studying for the priesthood, a love for the hymns of Holy
Church, it will have accomplished the chief purpose for which it was undertaken.
Its preparation has been both a pastime and a labor of love. The result is
cheerfully submitted to the judgment and correction of the proper ecclesiastical
authorities. The pointing out of any inaccuracies will be duly acknowledged and
greatly appreciated by the editor.
The editor desires to express his warmest thanks to many kind friends for their
generous assistance in the preparation of this work. A special word of
acknowledgment is due to the Right Rev. Msgr. H. T. Henry, Litt.D., and to the
late Right Rev. Peter Engel, O.S.B., for their kindly interest in the work from
its inception. The editor’s thanks are also due to many authors and
publishers for permission to use the translations here assigned them: to Mr.
Robert Bridges, the Poet Laureate, for permission to use hymn 12 from The
Yattendon Hymnal; to the Benedictines of Stanbrook for hymns 99, 100, 121,
122, 138, 140 from their The Day Hours of the Church; to Messrs. Burns,
Oates and Washbourne for hymns 98 and 146 from Archbishop Bagshawe’s Breviary
Hymns and Missal Sequences; to the representatives of the late Marquess of
Bute for hymns 84, 95, 141 from his Roman Breviary in English; to the Rev.
John Connolly for hymn 116 by the late Canon Hall; to the Rev. Percy Dearmer for
hymn 156; to Mr. Laurence Housman for hymn 164; to Judge D. J. Donohue for a new
translation of hymn 159, and for hymns 86, 123, 142, 143 from his Early
Christian Hymns; to the Rev. Edward F. Garesché, S.J. for hymn 80; to
the Rev. T. A. Lacey, M.A. for hymn 48; to the Right Rev. Msgr. H. T. Henry for
hymns 41, 75, 96, 97, 131, 139, 144; to the Right Rev. Sir David Oswald
Hunter-Blair, O.S.B. for a new translation of hymn 30, and for hymn 141; to Miss
Julian for hymn 20 written by her distinguished father; to the proprietors of Hymns
Ancient and Modern (H.A. and M.) for hymns 34b and 154; to Messrs.
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. for hymn 102 by the late Charles Kegan
Paul; to Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co. for hymn 135, by the late Dr. T. L.
Ball; to Mr. Alan G. McDougall for hymns 1, 64, 105, 129, 136, 138, 156 which now
appear in print for the first time; to Messrs. Macmillan and to the Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.) for hymns 14, 16, 18, 27, 36 by the late
W. J. Courthope; to the Oxford University Press for hymn 4 by Messrs. Ellerton
and Hort; to the Rev. G. H. Palmer, B.A. for permission to use many copyright
hymns from The Hymner—this includes all the hymns ascribed to
Messrs. G. H. Palmer, M. J. Blacker, W. J. Copeland, J. W. Chadwick, and J. W.
Doran; to Mr. Athelstan Riley, M.A. for hymns 42 and 129; to The Rosary
Magazine for hymn 139; to the Rev. G. R. Woodard, M.A. for a new translation
of the Ave Maris Stella 149b, and for many courtesies; to the proprietors of The
English Hymnal for the translation ascribed above to Messrs. Athelstan Riley,
Percy Dearmer, and Laurence Housman.
Among the many scholars and friends to whom the editor is indebted he would here
make special mention of Mr. James Britten, K.S.G., the Rev. James Mearns, M.A.,
Mr. Alan G. McDougall and the Rev. Ildephonse Brandstetter, O.S.B. Many of those
already mentioned have been very kind and helpful in looking up the owners of
hymns still in copyright. This in itself has been no slight task as most of these
are the property of English authors and publishers. The editor has spared no
efforts to ascertain the owners of all copyright hymns; but if through
inadvertence any have been overlooked, indulgence is asked in so worthy a cause,
and the editor promises that due acknowledgment will be made at the earliest
Works containing translations of Latin hymns, without Latin texts and comment,
will be found among the biographies of translators at the end of this volume.
John Julian: A Dictionary of Hymnology, 2nd Ed., London, 1907.
A truly great work which sets forth the origin of Christian hymns of all ages and
nations. Very valuable for Latin hymns. This work does not contain texts.
S. W. Duffield: Latin Hymn-Writers and Their Hymns, New York, 1889. This
work is a series of critical essays; it contains a few Latin hymns and
translations. It is not a reliable work. Funk and Wagnalls, New York.
R. C. Trench: Sacred Latin Poetry, Chiefly Lyrical, London, 1864. Trench
was the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin. This book is an old favorite. It
contains 76 Latin hymns, six of which are from the Breviary and two from the
Missal. The introduction (52 pages) is very instructive. The book is the work of
a scholar, albeit a bigoted one.
F. A. March: Latin Hymns, New York, 1874. Contains Latin text of 160 hymns
with brief but good notes; 37 of these hymns are in the Breviary or Missal.
American Book Co., New York.
Eucharistica by Right Rev. Msgr. H. T. Henry, Litt.D. Contains, among much
other valuable matter, the Latin texts with translations of some forty hymns in
honor of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Heart, and the Holy Name. There are
sixty pages of comment. The Dolphin Press, Philadelphia, 1912.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: This great work is frequently referred to
throughout this volume. It contains much valuable information on our Latin hymns.
The article on Hymnody and Hymnology was contributed by Rev. Clemens
Blume, S.J., one of the editors of Anacleta Hymnica. There are also some
fifty articles on individual hymns, practically all of which were contributed by
Msgr. H. T. Henry. Each article is followed by a valuable bibliography.
American Ecclesiastical Review: During the last twenty-five years the American
Ecclesiastical Review has contained many scholarly articles on our Latin
hymns, and many translations. Most of the articles and translations are from the
pen of Msgr. H. T. Henry.
Latin Hymns edited with an introduction and notes by Rev. Matthew Germing,
S.J., Loyola University Press, Chicago, 1920. This inexpensive booklet contains
forty-five hymns judicially chosen and carefully edited for classroom purposes.
Latin Hymns edited by W. A. Merrill. A small volume of Latin hymns with
brief bu good notes. About forty of the hymns are from the Breviary and Missal.
Sanborn, Boston, 1904.
Hymns Ancient and Modern (H.A. & M.), Historical Edition, London,
1909. Contains 643 hymns, among which are 148 Latin hymns with English
translations and notes. It contains a valuable introduction (110 pages). The text
of the Latin hymns “Hymni Latini” is also printed separately in vest
pocket form. (Wm. Clowes & Sons, Ltd., 23 Cockspur St., London, S.W.)
L’abbé Pimont: Les Hymnes du Bréviaire Romain. Etudes
critiques, littéraires et mystiques. 3 Vols., Paris, 1874-1884. A valuable
commentary; a good companion would be the work next listed below.
Louis Gladu: Les Hymnes du Bréviaire traduites en français
avec le text latin en regard. Second Ed., Quebec, 1913.
Johan Kayser: Beiträge zur Geschichte und Erklärung der
ältesten Kirchenhymnen. 2 Vols., Paderborn, 1881-1886. An excellent
Adelbert Schulte: Die Hymnen des Breviers nebst den Sequenzen des Missale;
2nd Ed., Paderborn, 1906. This work contains the Roman Breviary Text
of the hymns, and the Original Text where it differs from the former. There is a
very literal prose translation of each hymn together with ample explanatory
notes. It is one of the best works obtainable on our Latin hymns.
F. J. Mone: Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelatters, 3 Vols., Freiburg,
1853-1855. Since its publication this has been one of the standard works on Latin
H. A. Daniel: Thesaurus Hymnologicus, 5 Vols., Leipzig, 1841-1856. A
valuable and extensive collection of hymns. The arrangement however is poor, and
the abbreviations and references in the notes are most obscure. The first volume
contains in parallel columns about fifty Breviary hymns in both the Original Text
and the Roman Breviary Text.
Dreves and Blume: Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Leipzig, 1886. This great
work when completed will contain about sixty volumes. More than fifty are now in
print. It is the most extensive work on Latin hymnody thus far undertaken. The
work list below should be in the hands of every user of the Analecta Hymnica.
James Mearns: Early Latin Hymnaries. An index of hymns in hymnaries before
1100. It gives references to the three following works where the texts of the
hymns are printed: Analecta Hymnica (supra); Werner’s Die
ältesten Hymnensammlungen von Rheinau, 1891; Stevenson’s The
Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851; References are also given to
Chevalier’s Repertorium Hymnologicum, the great index to Latin
Copyright Benziger Brothers, 1922. Online Edition Copyright David M. Cheney,