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A solis ortus cardine

From lands that see the sun arise

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. A solis ortus cardine
    Ad usque terræ limitem,
    Christum canamus Principem,
    Natum Maria Virgine.
  2. Beatus auctor sæculi
    Servile corpus induit:
    Ut carne carnem liberans,
    Ne perderet quos condidit.
  3. Castæ Parentis viscera
    Cœlestis intrat gratia:
    Venter Puellæ bajulat
    Secreta, quæ non noverat.
  4. Domus pudici pectoris
    Templum repente fit Dei:
    Intacta nesciens virum,
    Concepit alvo Filium.
  5. Enititur puerpera,
    Quem Gabriel prædixerat,
    Quem ventre Matris gestiens,
    Baptista clausum senserat.
  6. Fœno jacere pertulit:
    Præsepe non abhorruit:
    Et lacte modico pastus est,
    Per quem nec ales esurit.
  7. Gaudet chorus cœlestium,
    Et Angeli canunt Deo;
    Palamque fit pastoribus
    Pastor, Creator omnium.
  8. Jesus, tibi sit gloria,
    Qui natus es de Virgine,
    Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu
    In sempiterna sæcula.
  1. From the lands that see the sun arise
    To earth’s remotest boundaries,
    The Virgin-born to-day we sing,
    The Son of Mary, Christ the King.
  2. Blest Author of this earthly frame,
    To take a servant’s form He came,
    That, liberating flesh by flesh,
    Whom He had made might live afresh.
  3. In that chaste parent’s holy womb
    Celestial grace hath found its home;
    And she, as earthly bride unknown,
    Yet calls that Offspring blest her own.
  4. The mansion of the modest breast
    Becomes a shrine where God shall rest:
    The pure and undefiled one
    Conceived in her womb the Son.
  5. That Son, that Royal Son she bore,
    Whom Gabriel’s voice had told afore;
    Whom, in His mother yet concealed,
    The infant Baptist had revealed.
  6. The manger and the straw He bore,
    The cradle did He not abhor;
    By milk in infant portions fed,
    Who gives e’en fowls their daily bread.
  7. The heavenly chorus filled the sky,
    The Angels sang to God on high,
    What time to shepherds, watching lone,
    They made creation’s Shepherd known.
  8. All honor, laud, and glory be,
    O Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee:
    All glory, as is ever meet,
    To Father and to Paraclete.

Author: Ambrosian, 5th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by J. M. Neale. There are eighteen translations, two of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Lauds on Christmas Day. This is a part (from A to G) of an alphabetical hymn, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the alphabet. This hymn and No. 46, Crudelis Herodes Deum, are parts of the same hymn. Together they give in verse a devout description of the life of Christ.

  1. “From the beginning of the rising of the sun, to the uttermost bounds of the earth, let us sing Christ, the Lord, born of the Virgin Mary.” Cardine, lit., a hinge, also in astron. a pole: cardo mundi, cardo cœli. A solis ortu usque ad occasum laudabile nomen Domini (Ps. 112, 3).
  2. “The Blessed Creator of the world assumed a servile body, that by flesh, He might liberate flesh, lest He lose those whom He had created.” Servile corpus: formam servi accipiens (Phil. 2, 7). Ut carne carnem liberans: That by His incarnation He might liberate mankind from the power of the devil.
  3. “A heavenly grace enters the bosom of the chaste Mother: the womb of a virgin bears secrets, which she had not thought of.” Gratia, in the sense of the “Author of grace.” Secreta: the incarnate Son of God. Non noverat: Mary had no foreknowledge of the mystery that was to be wrought in her womb.
  4. “The mansion of her modest bosom suddenly becomes the temple of God: unsullied, knowing not man, she conceived in her womb a Son.” Nesciens virum, (cf. Luke 1, 34-41).
  5. “The Mother brought forth Him whom Gabriel had predicted, whom the Baptist, exulting had perceived, though still enclosed in the womb of his mother.” Puerpera, from puer and parere. Baptista gestiens: Et factum est, ut audivit salutationem Mariæ Elisabeth, exultavit infans in utero ejus: et repleta est Spiritu sancto Elisabeth (Luke 1, 41). The first chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel is very beautiful. It contains two sublime canticles, the Magnificat (verses 46-55), and the Benedictus (verses 68-79).
  6. “He deigned to lie on hay, nor did He disdain the crib: and He, by whose providence not even a bird suffers hunger, is fed with a little milk.” Præsepe, is, manger, crib; this word occurs in several forms; see Glossary.
  7. “The choir of Saints rejoices, the Angels hymn their God, and the Shepherd, the Creator of all, became known to the shepherds.” For the Scriptural references in this stanza, read Luke 2, 13-18.