Beata nobis gaudia

Author: Hilary of Poitiers

Hilary, Hilarius Pictaviensis, Saint, Bishop, and, according to St. Augustine, "the Illustrious Doctor of all the Churches," was born of heathen parents of an illustrious family and great wealth, at Poictiers early in the fourth century. He received, as a heathen, an excellent classical education, so that St. Jerome says of him that he "was brought up in the pompous school of Gaul, yet had culled the flowers of Grecian science, and became the Rhone of Latin eloquence." Early in life he married, and had a daughter named Abra, Afra, or Apra. About 350 he renounced, in company with his wife and daughter, the Pagan religion of his family, and became a devout and devoted Christian. After his baptism he so gained the respect and love of his fello… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Beata nobis gaudia
Author: Hilary of Poitiers
Language: Latin
Notes: English translation: See "Round roll the weeks our hearts to greet" by William John Blew
Copyright: Public Domain


Beata nobis gaudia Anni reduxit orbita. [Whitsuntide.] This hymn is sometimes ascribed to St. Hilary of Poitiers; but as in the case of others, upon insufficient evidence. The full text, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, is given in Daniel, i., No. 7, together with the Roman Breviary version, and a few references, and notes. Mone, No. 183, gives the text from manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries, supplies readings therefrom and closes with a note. Daniel, iv. pp. 160-161, quotes Mone almost verbatim, and adds readings from a Rheinau manuscript of the 11th century. The text is also found in two manuscripts of the 11th century, in the British Museum (Jul. A. vi. f. 53 b., Vesp. D. xii. f. 78); the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, p. 93, where it is printed from an 11th century manuscript at Durham; in the Hymnarium Sarisburiense, Lond. 1851, pp. 113,114; in Card. Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865; in Simrock, 1868; and other collections.

As to the use of this hymn, we may remark that in the Mozarabic Breviary it is the hymn at Lauds on Whitsunday, and daily to Trinity Sunday; in the Sarum for Second Vespers on Whitsunday, and daily at Vespers during the week; York adds First Vespers as well; Canterbury directs its use at Vespers; so also St. Albans, but with the addition of two stanzas from the hymn at First Vespers on Whitsunday—"Jam Christus astra." In the Roman Breviary it is the hymn at Lauds on Whitsunday, and through the octave to Trinity Sunday exclusively. Other Breviaries of less importance also vary in their use.
The Roman Breviary text differs from the older form only in the two instances: stanza i., line 4, "Effulsit in discipulos," is changed to "Illapsus est apostolis," and stanza iv., line 3, "Sacro dierum numero," to "Sacro dierum circulo." Daniel draws attention to a curious question with regard to the word, paraclitus, or paracletus, in stanza i., line 3, of this hymn. The last syllable but one, the penultimate, should have a long vowel. Here, however, it is short, as in Prudentius, Cathem. V., v. -160. On this point Danielrefers to Gavantus (Thes. S. R. tom. iii. p. 263), and to a treatise by Jean Baptiste Thiers (1636-1703).

This hymn must not be confounded with "Beata nobis gaudia dant militum solemnia," given in Mone, No. 736, of which there are no translations into English. [Rev. W. A. Shoults, B.D.]
Translations in common use:—
1. Again the circling seasons tell. By W. J. Copeland, appeared in his Hymns for the Week, &c, 1848, p. 102, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. In 1850 it was reprinted in Stretton's Church Hymns, and, in a re-written form, as "Again the circling year brings round," in the English Hymnal, 1852 and 1861, being a change from C.M. to L.M. In this arrangement Caswall's translation of 1849 was also used somewhat freely.
2. Hail the joyful day's return. By R. Campbell, was written for his St. Andrew's Hymnal, and published therein in 1850, in 3 stanzas of 8 lines, and from thence passed into the Scottish Episcopal Collection, 1858; and with the single change of the to this stanza i., line 1 in Shipley's Annus Sanctus, 1884.
3. Blest joys for mighty wonders wrought. By J. M. Neale, appeared in the first edition of Hymnal Noted, 1852, No. 33. It has failed to win a position in the more important collections.
4. Bound roll the weeks our hearts to greet. By W. J. Blew, written cir. 1850, first printed on a broadsheet, and then in his Hymn and Tune Book, 1st ed., 1852, 2nd, 1855, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines. It was also included in the People's Hymnal, 1867.
5. Joy! because the circling year . By J. Ellerton and F. J. A. Hort, made for and first published in Church Hymns, 1871. In 1875 it was also included in Hymns Ancient & Modern, No. 153, with the omission of the last four lines. Mr. Ellerton in his note on this hymn (Church Hymns, folio ed., p. xliv.) attributes stanza ii., "Like to quivering tongues of flame," to Bp. Mant's Ancient Hymns, 1837, in error. Mant has no translation of the hymn. The stanza is from Campbell's tr. as above.
Translations not in common use:—
1. The rolling year pursues its way. Primer, 1706 (possibly by J. Dryden). This is given in 0. Shipley's Annus Sanctus, 1884, p. 163.
2. The rowling year hath now brought back. A. J. B. Hope's Hymns, &c, 1844.
3. Blest is our joy! The time hath come once more . Bp. J. Williams, Ancient Hymns, 1845.
4. Again the slowly circling year. E. Caswall, 1849.
5. Blest season ! which with gladness fraught. J. D. Chambers, 1857.
6. The circling year again, &c. Wallace, 1874.
7. Again amid the circling year. F. Trappes, 1865.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Beata nobis gaudia, p. 120, i. Additional translations are:—
1. Hail! joyful day, with blessing fraught, in the Office Hymn Book, 1889, No. 757, and 1905, No. 221.
2. Oh joy! because the circling year, in Hymns Ancient & Modern 1904, No. 179. This is J. Ellerton's translation "Joy! because the circling year," rewritten, to a plainsong setting, by the Compilers. Stanzas iii., iv. seem to be meant as a paraphrase of "Jam Christus astra," p. 576, i.
3. Rejoice I the year upon its way, by R. E. Roberts, in The English Hymnal, 1906, No. 151. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)


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Hymns for Worship #117

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