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Gentis Polonæ

O Glory of the Polish race

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Gentis Polonæ gloria,
    Clerique splendor nobilis,
    Decus Lycæi, et patriæ
    Pater, Joannes inclyte.
  2. Legem superni Numinis
    Doces magister, et facis.
    Nil scire prodest: sedulo
    Legem nitamur exsequi.
  3. Apostolorum limina
    Pedes viator visitas;
    Ad patriam, ad quam tendimus,
    Gressus viamque dirige.
  4. Urbem petis Jerusalem:
    Signata sacro sanguine
    Christi colis vestigia,
    Rigasque fusis fletibus.
  5. Acerba Christi vulnera,
    Hærete nostris cordibus,
    Ut cogitemus consequi
    Redemptionis pretium.
  6. Te prona mundi machina,
    Clemens adoret Trinitas,
    Et nos novi per gratiam
    Novum canamus canticum.
  1. O Glory of the Polish race,
    O splendor of the priestly band,
    Whose lore did thy Lyceum grace,
    John, father of the fatherland.
  2. The Law of the supernal Will
    Thou teachest both in word and deed;
    Knowledge is naught—we must fulfill
    In works, not barren words, our creed!
  3. On foot to Apostolic Rome
    Thy pilgrim spirit joyful hied;
    Oh, to our everlasting home
    The path declare, the footstep guide!
  4. Again, in Sion’s holy street,
    Anew thou wet’st with tearful flood
    The pathway of the Saviour’s feet
    Erst wet with His redeeming Blood.
  5. O sweet and bitter Wounds of Christ,
    Deep in our hearts imprinted stay,
    That the blest fruit the sacrificed
    Redeemer gained, be ours for aye!
  6. Then let the world obeisance due
    Perform, O God, to Thy high Will;
    And let our souls, by grace made new,
    Sing to Thee a new canticle!
Author: Unknown, 18th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by Monsignor Henry. There are five translations. Liturgical Use: Vespers hymn. There is a short biography of John Cantius, St. (1412-1473), in the Cath. Encycl.
  1. “Illustrious John, the glory of the Polish race, and the noble ornament of the priesthood, the glory of thy University and the father of thy country!” Lycæi: the University of Cracow in which St. John was a professor of theology. A brief history of the University is given at the end of the article on Cracow, in the Cath. Encycl.
  2. “As teacher thou dost both teach and observe the Law of the Heavenly Divinity: to know availeth not; we must diligently strive to fulfil the Law.”
  3. “A traveler on foot thou dost visit the tombs of the Apostles: to our true country which we seek, direct thou our steps and our way.” Limen, a threshold; Limina Apostolorum, an ecclesiastical term meaning a pilgrimage to the sepulchers of SS. Peter and Paul in Rome. St. Peter rests in the great church bearing his name, and St. Paul in the Basilica of St. Paul “outside the walls.” Pedes, itis, adj., on foot. Pedes viator, a, pilgrim. St. John made four pilgrimages to Rome on foot. He also made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
  4. “Thou dost visit the city of Jerusalem, and dost venerate the footprints marked with the Sacred Blood of Christ, and thou dost bedew them with abundant tears.”
  5. “O bitter Wounds of Christ, be ye deeply implanted in our hearts, that we may be ever mindful to seek earnestly the reward of our redemption.”
  6. “O loving Trinity, may the whole fabric of the universe prostrate adore Thee, and we, renewed by Thy grace, would sing Thee a new song of praise.”