Catholic CornucopiadCheney

O quot undis

What a sea of tears and sorrow

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. O quot undis lacrimarum,
    Quo dolore volvitur,
    Luctuosa de cruento
    Dum, revulsum stipite,
    Cernit ulnis incubantem
    Virgo Mater filium!
  2. Os suave, mite pectus,
    Et latus dulcissimum,
    Dexteramque vulneratam,
    Et sinistram sauciam,
    Et rubras cruore plantas
    Ægra tingit lacrimis.
  3. Centiesque milliesque
    Stringit arctis nexibus
    Pectus illud, et lacertos,
    Illa figit vulnera:
    Sicque tota colliquescit
    In doloris osculis.
  4. Eja Mater, obsecramus
    Per tuas has lacrimas,
    Filiique triste funus,
    Vulnerumque purpuram,
    Hunc tui cordis dolorem
    Conde nostris cordibus.
  5. Esto Patri, Filioque,
    Et coævo Flamini,
    Esto summæ Trinitati
    Sempiterna gloria,
    Et perennis laus, honorque
    Hoc, et omni sæculo.
  1. What a sea of tears and sorrow
    Did the soul of Mary toss
    To and fro upon its billows,
    While she wept her bitter loss;
    In her arms her Jesus holding,
    Torn so newly from the Cross.
  2. Oh, that mournful Virgin-Mother!
    See her tears how fast they flow
    Down upon His mangled body,
    Wounded side, and thorny brow;
    While His hands and feet she kisses—
    Picture of immortal woe.
  3. Oft and oft His arms and bosom
    Fondly straining to her own;
    Oft her pallid lips imprinting
    On each wound of her dear Son;
    Till at last, in swoons of anguish,
    Sense and consciousness are gone.
  4. Gentle Mother, we beseech thee
    By thy tears and troubles sore;
    By the death of thy dear Offspring,
    By the bloody wounds He bore;
    Touch our hearts with that true sorrow
    Which afflicted thee of yore.
  5. To the Father everlasting,
    And the Son who reigns on high,
    With the co-eternal Spirit,
    Trinity in Unity,
    Be salvation, honor, blessing
    Now and through eternity.
Author: Ascribed to the Servite Callisto Palumbella, who composed the Office for the Feast inserted in the Breviary in 1720. Meter: Trochaic tetrameter. Translation by Father Caswall. There are six translations. Liturgical Use: In the latest editions of the Breviary this hymn is assigned to Matins; it was formerly the Vespers hymn of the Feast of the Seven Dolors.
  1. “O, with what floods of tears, with what grief is the Virgin-Mother overwhelmed, when mourning she beholds her Son taken down from the blood-stained Tree and laid in her arms!” Constr.: 0 quot undis lacrimarum, quo dolore volvitur luctuosa Virgo Mater, dum cernit Filium incumbantem ulnis revulsum de (crucis) stipite.
  2. “The desolate Mother bathes with tears that sweet mouth, that gentle breast, that side most sweet, that right hand transfixed, the left wounded, those feet red with blood.”
  3. “A hundred times, yea, a thousand times she enfolds in tight embraces that breast and those arms, she imprints on herself those wounds: and thus in kisses of sorrow she wholly melts away.”
  4. “O Mother, we beseech thee by these thy tears, by the cruel death of thy Son, and by the purple of His wounds, plant deep in our hearts the grief of thine own heart.”
  5. “To the Father, and to the Son, and to the co-eternal Spirit, to the most high Trinity, be everlasting glory, eternal praise and honor, now and forever.”