25 December 2019

Adeste fideles ...

How can you associate yourselves spiritually with our British Ordinariate over Christmas? Answer: by thinking of us if you find yourselves singing Adeste Fideles.


Because our historic Church in Central London, the Assumption Warwick Street, began life as the Portuguese Embassy Chapel. During the penal days, embassy chapels were the only public places of Catholic worship open. And Adeste fideles, probably written by John Francis Wade, a Recusant and Jacobite musician, was so often sung in the Warwick Street Chapel that it was known as the Portuguese Hymn. So just imagine the Marquis of Pombal FRS, sustained by Port Wine and Detestation of Jesuits, belting out this hymn ...

 ... no, you're quite right. In those happier days, it would have been the professional singers who delivered all the music. We should not think of Pombal, poor chap, as a crypto-Methodist.

Additional or variant stanzas of this hymn have sometimes been composed.  Here is a redaction of stanzas 2 and 3, which used to circulate in Anglo-Catholic circles:

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Here upon this Altar,
Jesu, to thee be
Glory given.
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing:
      O come ...

Godhead and Manhood,
Sacrament most holy,
This is the presence
Whom Angels adore.
Altar and manger,
One eternal moment.
      O come ...

The metrical structure of this entire hymn seems ragged, to say the least. Hurriedly I have attempted the following for a Latin version. You could all do better. I feel I haven't mastered the rhythm of the fourth line in these stanzas. Or, indeed, the other lines!! A very Happy Christmass!!

Deus, qui throno
Regis in Altaris,
Iesu tibi sit
Patris aeterni
Verbum caro factum.
     Venite ...

Deus et homo
Sacramento latens;
Ara, praesepe,
In utroque
Simul et salvas,
Simul adoraris!
       Venite ...


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Merry Christmas.

Wisdom 18:

14 For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course,

Thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction,

and then one hears Mary singing, Marie Wiegenlied one knows he is Catholic when these two thoughts are perfectly at peace with each other.

Dale Crakes said...

Can you elaborate on the AC version Fr./ Thanks & a blessed Christ Mass.

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

As a former Anglo-Catholic, but a Roman lo these almost 40 years, I love the titbits of history that you share!

Happy Christmas!

Grant Milburn said...

The ministers in my former Evangelical Anglican Church would have had a fit. A house divided...

Colin Spinks said...

Now in *bread* appearing?

Joshua said...

Could you favour us with a translation in Latin - suitable for singing as an Elevation Motet?

Dale Crakes said...

Still hoping you will have time to respond Fr.

frjustin said...

Most Latin versions have only four verses, but there is at least one version with eight verses:

1. Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte, Regem Angelorum;


Venite adoremus,venite adoremus,
venite adoremus Dominum!

2. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
gestant puellae viscera.
Deum verum, genitum non factum; (refrain)

3. Cantet nunc Io chorus Angelorum
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

4. Ergo qui natus, die hodierna,
Jesu, tibi sit gloria.
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum;

5. En grege relicto, humiles ad cunas,
vocati pastores approperant.
Et nos ovanti gradu festinemus;

6. Aeterni Parentis splendorem aeternum,
velatum sub carne videbimus.
Deum infantem, pannis involutum;

7. Pro nobis egenum et foeno cubantem,
piis foveamus amplexibus.
Sic nos amantem quis non redamaret?

8. Stella duce, Magi, Christum adorantes,
aurum, thus, et myrrham dant munera.
Jesu infanti corda praebeamus;

Mariana said...

Merry Christmas(s), Father!

Shaun Davies said...

Please don't forget St Edmund's College,Old Hall Green,Ware the descendant of the old English college of Douay.We have the manuscript of Adeste Fideles and it is still brought down to our (unspoiled Pugin) chapel for the Carol Service. Adeste Fideles was compose for our college at Douai and was sung at Solemn Benediction on Christmas morning. As well as being a hymn of praise it is considered a code Jacobite song - that's what Dr Bennett Zon thinks - Born the King of Angels = the rightful king of the Angles (England). Douay was apparently a hotbed of Jacobitism.

Anita Moore said...

Those Anglo-Catholic verses are terrific! I am going to include those the next time I sing this hymn, and encourage others to do the same. Thank you!