17 June 2022

When the Patriarch was returning ...

Today, within the Octave of Corpus Christi, I remind readers of the Hymn Hoste dum victo triumphans, a superb hymn about the Lord's priesthood and the ministerial priesthood rooted in Him. Fr E Caswall - after he left the Church of England for the Birmingham Oratory - translated it as When the Patriarch was returning; you will find this version in the English Catholic Hymn Book. I would regard it as a prime piece of Patrimony although Fr Caswall was a Roman Catholic when he did his translation, since it was long popular as the Office Hymn of the Votive Vespers ("Guild Office") of the old Anglican GSS ("Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary").

I am republishing this old post because you will find much valuable and fascinating information in a comment originally attached to a 2010 blogpost on this hymn.

And I now add: can anyone provide reliable info on the authorship of Hoste dum victo? The earliest evidence I can find is the 1779 Cluniac Breviary ... which is notorious as one of the most inventive and innovatory of the 'neo-Gallican' rites (which Dom Gueranger devoted his life to eradicating).

This Breviary claimed to be "iuxta mentem Pauli V" [Pope 1605-1621]. It explains: "Hymni novi, veteribus elegantiores, ex variis auctoribus, praesertim Sanctolio Victorino delecti, novum Breviarium exornant". Santolius Victorinus is the usual Latin form of the name of Jean-Baptiste de Santeuil, a prolific writer of Latin hymns and of Latin verse in general (several of his hymns are translated in modern Catholic hymnals; and his body is in S Nicolas de Chardonnet!). 

It is interesting that the Head of the Cluniac monks thought it would commend the new hymns in his own new Breviary if he could say that Santeuil had liked them!!

The penultimate stanza tells us that the laity stand around the altar, offer the Sacrifice, and join the offering of themselves with that of Christ. I can think of hints in S Augustine of parts of this devotional-cum-theological complex of ideas ... but how much evidence is there in intervening centuries? 

Or is it one of the fashions of seventeenth-century French Catholicism?

The post-Conciliar revisers of the Breviary hymns would have sympathised with that explanation

(I like the last word, halitu!)



Walter said...

Cyril Pocknee published both the Latin & English in 'The French Diocesan Hymns & their Melodies' 1954, p62. (If anyone can get an Ebook copy of the 1686 Breviarium Cluniacense I'd love to download it since it has the Office of Christ Priest on the Corpus Christi Octave.)

'Hoste dum victo triumphans' is always declared as anonymous

Since the Latin isn't easily found,
here it is:

Hoste dum victo triumphans
Abraham revertitur,
Obvius fit magnus illi
Rex Salem Melchisedech,
Vina qui tamquam sacerdos
Atque panem protulit.

Quam vetus signabat umbra,
Clara lucet veritas ;
Pontifex novus secundum
Ordinem, Melchisedech,
Pane, sub vinoque corpus
Dat suum cum sanguine.

Quo creata cuncta verbo
Mira fit mutatio:
Panis incarnem, merumque
In cruorem vertitur
Deficit senus, sed alta
Roborat mentem fides.

Qui semel Patri cruentam
Obtulit se victimam;
Singulis idem diebus,
Per ministrorum manus,
Rite nostris incruentus
Se sub aris immolat.

Ipsa quin astans sacratis
Sancta plebs altaribus,
Maximo Christum Parenti
Seque cum Christo litat
Carne posthac quam litavit
Et cruore pascitur.

Summa laus Deo Parenti
Qui creavit omnia;
Summa sit Nato redemit
Qui suo nos sanguine ;
Flamini par, cujus almo
Confovemur halitu.

I would like to bring to your attention another hymn in this same Office from the Cluniac 1686 Breviary. It is also translation by Father Caswall and published in his "Hymns & Poems/Original & Translation". (Kessinger has reprinted this book)

Nocte Mox Diem Fugata

Soon the fiery sun ascending
Will have chased the midnight gloom :
Rise, O Thou High Priest eternal,
Break the bondage of the tomb !
And above the vaulted sky
Bear Thy victim Flesh on high !

Once on earth for guilty mortals
Sacrificed in torment sore,
There may It, on Heav'n's high altar,
Plead our cause for evermore ;
Opening the Way to God (alt.'d)
With the Lamb's atoning Blood.

Named of old High Priest for ever,
By the Father's stedfast oath,
Rise, O Advocate Almighty !
Rise, O Priest & Victim both !
Swiftly, swiftly, speed Thy way
Back to golden realms of day.

Lo, 'tis done ! O'er death victorious
Christ ascends His starry throne;
There from all His labours resting
Still He travails for His own ;
Still our fate His Heart employs
E'en amid eternal joys.

There He sits in tranquil glory ;
There He stands His aid to lend ;
There He offers to His Father
Every single prayer we send ;
There Himself receives each sigh
As omniscient Deity !

Well, there you have it: another piece of Patrimony.

The Latin for this hymn is even tougher to find: but here it is.

Nocte mox diem fugata
Sol reducet igneus:
Surge, noster O Sacerdos
Rumpe mortis vincula ;
Et tuam tecum reportans
Infer asteris hostiam.

Quae semel mactata terris,
Lavit orbis crimina,
Ipsa caelestes ad aras
Offeratur jugiter ;
Nec Deum placare cessat
Filii fusus cruor.

Pontifex ut sis perennis
Te tuus qualem Pater
Jurejurando vocavit ;
Jugis ut sis victima,
Surge, jugem, quid moraris
Promptus ad vitam redi.

Morte devita, triumphans
Christus ascendit polum
Cessat illic labore,
Non precari desirat :
Jugiter vivens ut oret
Pro suis et jugiter.

In throno sedet quietus ;
Stat suos ut adjuvet :
Ipse nostra sanctus offert
Vota Patri Pontifex ;
Unus ipse cum Parente
Vota suscipit Deus.

(see doxology above)

The Office for this day is very rich in content: from some of the 12 Nocturn readings are: Genesis 14, Malichi 1, Hebrews 7.
The readings from the Church Fathers include Cyprian & Augustine.


The above link is for the Summer Breviary edition. You can either read it online or download the file freely. Look for the Octave of Corpus Christi on p.220 inside the breviary. The page number for the .pdf file is 265 I think.

John F H H said...

For those unfamiliar with this hymn,

provides a translation and much else besides.

John said...

It seems to fit very comfortably into Purcell's "Christ is Made the Sure Foundation". Is that what the old English Catholic Hymnal provides?

Alan said...

ECHB didn't provide tunes. It was a words only book, its supplementary nature being marked by numbering beginning where the English Hymnal left off. For office hymn tunes, it pointed users to the Latin musical boooks.

Lepanto said...

"Father Caswall was a Roman Catholic...." ? I was taught that there are no such people as Roman Catholics but that there is only one Catholic Church and that the term was introduced by Anglicans to imply that the Catholic Church was only one branch of a larger Church that included Anglicans and Orthodox. I am a Catholic!

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

De re omnino diversa, hodie dies natalis cuiusdam dominae oxoniensis est - si in missa tua ejus memineris, et ut ad Australiam sine difficultate iterum redeat ...


Belfry Bat said...

Concerning "this devotional-cum-theological complex of ideas ... "; leaving aside the ordinary placement of altars, and allowing "around" to be satisfied by nearness or attentive presence, this very complex of ideas was described in a footnote of my first hand Missal ("Ideal Daily--", imprimatur Suenens) as being much of the intent of In spíritu humilitátis et in ánimo contríto suscipiámur a te, Dómine: et sic fiat sacrifícium nostrum...; to be sure, it is quoting Anania, Azaria, Misael...; but it has been deemed suitable for Centuries, and the use of first-person-plural surely indicates an action of all the individuals in the Communion in a way that, in contrast say, Baptism does not allow. It is given to the Priesthood to confect the Sacrament (which is done first-person-singular ("corpus meum/sanguis mei")), but once having the Sacrament in our presence, if we are well-disposed and do partake, are we not also to offer that partaking? Is there any better way to offer ourselves, as St. Paul exhorts, Deo placentem, rationabile obsequium vestrum?

armyarty said...

Roman Catholic, or a Catholic of the Roman Rite?