27 November 2021

The Miraculous Medal

The Propers granted by Leo XIII included this hymn ad Matutinum; it is remniniscent of the Latin style of that admirable pontiff (h/t to Ansgerus):

Tutela praesens omnium,/ Salvete Mater Numinis;/ Intacta in Hevae filiis,/ Tu foeda munda pectora.

Numisma quos ornat tuum,/ Fove benigno lumine;/ Virtus sit inter proelia/ Aigisque in hostes praepotens.

Sit flentibus solatium,/ Aegris levamen artubus./ In mortis hora, fulgidae/ Aeternitatis sponsio.

Iesu, tuam qui finiens/ Matrem dedisti servulis,/ Precante Matre, filiis/ Largire caeli gaudia. 

At the end of the first stanza, munda is the verb and foeda agrees with pectora!!

Nice to think of the miraculous medal as an aegis, yes?

The Introit of the Mass is Exodus 13:9: the words of Moses to the liberated people of Israel.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Just to let you know that I have found a Roman Breviary dated 1913 (http://www.liberius.net/livres/Les_hymnes_du_Breviaire_000000919.pdf)
which has a slightly different rendering of line 4: “Tu foeda mundes pectora”. (p. 140)

Here it seems that the author (probably, as you say, Leo XIII) has used the Subjunctive Mood to express a wish. I find this a more satisfactory and realistic version, as it obviates the necessity to distinguish between the long and short “a” in “foeda/munda” (depending on whether they refer to a verb or an adjective), and so removes any ambiguity in translation.

How to account for this discrepancy? Would it be simply a printer’s error? In my experience, this is by no means an uncommon occurrence where Latin is concerned. My Lasance Missal (1945) contains dozens of them!

May I request your valued opinion on this? Thank you.