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Pange lingua gloriosi

Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Pange lingua gloriosi
    Corporis mysterium,
    Sanguinisque pretiosi,
    Quem in mundi pretium.
    Fructus ventris generosi
    Rex effudit gentium.
  2. Nobis datus, nobis natus
    Ex intacta Virgine,
    Et in mundo conversatus,
    Sparso verbi semine,
    Sui moras incolatus
    Miro clausit ordine.
  3. In supremæ nocte cœnæ,
    Recumbens cum fratribus
    Observata lege plene
    Cibis in legalibus,
    Cibum turbæ duodenæ
    Se dat suis manibus.
  4. Verbum caro, panem verum
    Verbo carnem efficit:
    Fitque sanguis Christi merum
    Et si sensus deficit,
    Ad firmando cor sincerum
    Sola fides sufficit.
  5. Tantum ergo Sacaramentum
    Veneremur cernui:
    Et antiquum documentum
    Novo cedat ritui:
    Præstet fides supplementum
    Sensuum defectui.
  6. Genitori, Genitoque
    Laus et jubilatio,
    Salus, honor, virtus quoque
    Sit et benedictio;
    Procedenti ab utroque
    Compar sit lauditio.
  1. Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
    Of His Flesh the mystery sing;
    Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
    Shed by our immortal King,
    Destined, for the world’s redemption,
    From a noble womb to spring.
  2. Of a pure and spotless Virgin
    Born for us on earth below,
    He, as Man, with man conversing,
    Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
    Then He closed in solemn order
    Wondrously His life of woe.
  3. On the night of that Last Supper
    Seated with His chosen band,
    He, the Paschal victim eating,
    First fulfills the Law’s command;
    Then as Food to all His brethren
    Gives Himself with His own hand.
  4. Word made Flesh, the bread of nature
    By His word to Flesh He turns;
    Wine into His Blood He changes;
    What though sense no change discerns?
    Only be the heart in earnest,
    Faith her lesson quickly learns.
  5. Down in adoration falling,
    Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
    Lo! o’er ancient form departing,
    Newer rites of grace prevail;
    Faith for all defects supplying,
    Where the feeble senses fail.
  6. To the everlasting Father,
    And the Son who reigns on high,
    With the Holy Ghost proceeding
    Forth from Each eternally,
    Be salvation, honor, blessing,
    Might, and endless majesty.
See “Preliminary Observations” above. Meter: Trochaic tetrameter. Translation by Father Caswall. There are about twenty-five translations, eight of which are in Mr. Shipley’s Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Vespers hymn on the Feast of Corpus Christi: the Tangtum Ergo and doxology are sung during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is used also as a processional hymn on Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi, and during the Forty Hours’ Adoration.

The Pange Lingua is pre-eminently the hymn of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is the most beautiful of the great Eucharistic hymns of St. Thomas. “This hymn,” says Dr. Neale, “contests the second place among those of the Western Church with the Vexilla Regis, the Stabat Mater, the Jesu dulcis memoria, the Ad regias Agni dapes, the Ad Supernam, and one or two others, leaving the Dies Iræ in its unapproachable glory. It has been a bow of Ulysses to translators” (Medieval Hymns, p. 179). The Pange Lingua of St. Thomas is, according to Dr. Julian—“One of the finest of medieval Latin hymns; a wonderful union of sweetness of melody with clear-cut dogmatic teaching” (Dict. of Hymnology, p. 878). With the addition of rhyme, St. Thomas imitates in this beautiful hymn the Pange Lingua of Fortunatus.

  1. “Sing, O my tongue, the mystery of the glorious Body and of the precious Blood, which the King of the Gentiles, the fruit of a noble womb, shed for the redemption of the world.”
  2. “Given to us, and born for us of a stainless Virgin, He dwelt on earth sowing the seed of the word, and closed in a wondrous manner the days of His earthly sojourning.” Nobis datus: Parvulus enim natus est nobis et filius datus est nobis ... et vocabitur nomen ejus, Admirabilis, Consiliarius, Deus Fortis, Pater futuri sæculi, Princeps pacis (Is. 9, 6). Sparso verbi semine: Our Lord is the sower in the beautiful “Parable of the Sower” (Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8); the seed is the good tidings of the kingdom of God, which Christ came on earth to sow in the hearts of men. Miro clausit ordine; What this “wondrous manner” was is explained in the next two stanzas.
  3. “On the night of the Last Supper, reclining with His brethren—the Law having been fully complied with in regard to legal meats—with His own hands, He gives Himself as Food to the assembled twelve.” Turbæ duodenæ, to the assembly twelve in number. For duodenæ, see denus in the Glossary, Cibis in legalibus (cf. Exod. 12, 3-11).
  4. “The Word-made-Flesh changes by His word true bread into His Flesh; and wine becomes the Blood of Christ; and if the intellect does not grasp this, faith alone suffices to make sure the sincere heart.” This stanza, on account of the many verbal and real antitheses it contains, has been “the great crux of the translator” (Neale). In the article on the Pange Lingua in the Cath. Encycl. there are seven translations of this stanza and much interesting comment. Verbum caro: the Incarnate Word, the God-Man, the Word-made-Flesh (cf. John 1, 1-14).
  5. “Let us therefore, prostrate, adore so great a Sacrament, and let the Old Law give way to the New Ordinance; let faith supplement the weakness of the senses.” Et antiquum ... ritui: and let the Old Law (with its typic sacrifices and Paschal Lamb) give way to the New Rite (in which the Lamb of God is sacrificed). Cernui, adj., prostrate, profoundly bowed; with deep humility.
  6. “To the Father and to the Son be praise, glory, salvation, honor, power, and benediction also! And to Him proceeding from Them both be equal praise.”