Deus ignee fons animarum

Deus ignee fons animarum

Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius
Published in 1 hymnal

Representative Text

Deus ignee fons animarum,
duo qui socians elementa
vivum simul ac moribundum
hominem Pater effigiasti:

  5Tua sunt, tua rector utraque,
tibi copula iungitur horum,
tibi, dum vegetata cohaerent,
et spiritus et caro servit.

Rescissa sed ista seorsum
  10solvunt hominera perimuntque,
humus excipit arida corpus,
animae rapit aura liquorem.

Quia cuncta creata necesse est
labefacta senescere tandem,
  15conpactaque dissociari,
et dissona texta retexi.

Hanc tu, Deus optime, mortem
famulis abolere paratus
iter inviolabile monstras,
  20quo perdita membra resurgant:

Ut, dum generosa caducis
ceu carcere clausa ligantur,
pars illa potentior extet,
quae germen ab aethere traxit.

  25Si terrea forte voluntas
luteum sapit et grave captat,
animus quoque pondere victus
sequitur sua membra deorsum.

At si generis memor ignis
  30contagia pigra recuset,
vehit hospita viscera secum,
pariterque reportat ad astra.

Nam quod requiescere corpus
vacuum sine mente videmus,
  35spatium breve restat, ut alti
repetat conlegia sensus.

Venient cito secula, cum iam
socius calor ossa revisat
animataque sanguine vivo
  40habitacula pristina gestet.

Quae pigra cadavera pridem
tumulis putrefacta iacebant,
volucres rapientur in auras
animas comitata priores.

  45Hinc maxima cura sepulcris
inpenditur: hinc resolutos
honor ultimus accipit artus
et funeris ambitus ornat.

Candore nitentia claro
  50praetendere lintea mos est,
adspersaque myrrha Sabaeo
corpus medicamine servat.

Quidnam sibi saxa cavata,
quid pulchra volunt monumenta,
  55nisi quod res creditur illis
non mortua, sed data somno?

Hoc provida Christicolarum
pietas studet, utpote credens
fore protinus omnia viva,
  60quae nunc gelidus sopor urget.

Qui iacta cadavera passim
miserans tegit aggere terrae,
opus exhibet ille benignum
Christo pius omnipotenti:

  65Quin lex eadem monet omnes
gemitum dare sorte sub una,
cognataque funera nobis
aliena in morte dolere.

Sancti sator ille Tobiae
  70sacer ac venerabilis heros,
dapibus iam rite paratis
ius praetulit exequiarum.

Iam stantibus ille ministris
cyathos et fercula liquit,
  75studioque accinctus humandi
fleto dedit ossa sepulcro.

Veniunt mox praemia caelo
pretiumque rependitur ingens:
nam lumina nescia solis
  80Deus inlita felle serenat.

Iam tunc docuit Pater orbis,
quam sit rationis egenis
mordax et amara medela,
cum lux animum nova vexat.

  85Docuit quoque non prius ullum
caelestia cernere regna,
quam nocte et vulnere tristi
toleraverit aspera mundi.

Mors ipsa beatior inde est,
  90quod per cruciamina leti
via panditur ardua iustis
et ad astra doloribus itur.

Sic corpora mortificata
redeunt melioribus annis,
  95nec post obitum recalescens
conpago fatiscere novit.

Haec, quae modo pallida tabo
color albidus inficit ora,
tunc flore venustior omni
  100sanguis cute tinget amoena.

Iam nulla deinde senectus
frontis decus invida carpet,
macies neque sicca lacertos
suco tenuabit adeso.

  105Morbus quoque pestifer, artus
qui nunc populatur anhelos,
sua tunc tormenta resudans
luet inter vincula mille.

Hunc eminus aere ab alto
  110victrix caro iamque perennis
cernet sine fine gementem
quos moverat ipse dolores.

Quid turba superstes inepta
clangens ululamina miscet,
  115cur tam bene condita iura
luctu dolor arguit amens?

Iam maesta quiesce querela,
lacrimas suspendite matres,
nullus sua pignora plangat,
  120mors haec reparatio vitae est.

Sic semina sicca virescunt
iam mortua iamque sepulta,
quae reddita caespite ab imo
veteres meditantur aristas.

  125Nunc suscipe terra fovendum,
gremioque hunc concipe molli:
hominis tibi membra sequestro
generosa et fragmina credo.

Animae fuit haec domus olim
  130factoris ab ore creatae,
fervens habitavit in istis
sapientia principe Christo.

Tu depositum tege corpus,
non inmemor illa requiret
  135sua munera fictor et auctor
propriique aenigmata vultus.

Veniant modo tempora iusta,
cum spem Deus inpleat omnem;
reddas patefacta necesse est,
  140qualem tibi trado figuram.

Non, si cariosa vetustas
dissolverit ossa favillis,
fueritque cinisculus arens
minimi mensura pugilli.

  145Nec, si vaga flamina et aurae
vacuum per inane volantes
tulerint cum pulvere nervos,
hominem periisse licebit.

Sed dum resolubile corpus
  150revocas, Deus, atque reformas,
quanam regione iubebis
animam requiescere puram?

Gremio senis addita sancti
recubabit, ut est Eleazar,
  155quem floribus undique septum
Dives procul adspicit ardens.

Sequimur tua dicta redemptor,
quibus atra morte triumphans
tua per vestigia mandas
  160socium crucis ire latronem.

Patet ecce fidelibus ampli
via lucida iam paradisi,
licet et nemus illud adire,
homini quod ademerat anguis.

  165Illic precor, optime ductor,
famulam tibi praecipe mentem
genitali in sede sacrari,
quam liquerat exul et errans.

Nos tecta fovebimus ossa
  170violis et fronde frequenti,
titulumque et frigida saxa
liquido spargemus odore.

Hymns of Prudentius, 1905

Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius

Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, "The Christian Pindar" was born in northern Spain, a magistrate whose religious convictions came late in life. His subsequent sacred poems were literary and personal, not, like those of St. Ambrose, designed for singing. Selections from them soon entered the Mozarabic rite, however, and have since remained exquisite treasures of the Western churches. His Cathemerinon liber, Peristephanon, and Psychomachia were among the most widely read books of the Middle Ages. A concordance to his works was published by the Medieval Academy of America in 1932. There is a considerable literature on his works. --The Hymnal 1940 Companion… Go to person page >

Notes

Deus ignee fons animarum. A, C. Prudentins. [Burial of the Dead.] This beautiful poem, in 44 stanzas of 4 lines, is No. x. in his Cathemerinon, and may be found in all editions of his works, e.g. Deventer, 1490, Lond., 1824, &c. It is also in a manuscript of the 5th century, in the Bibl. Nat. Paris (8084, f. 32b), and in a Mozarabic Office Book of 11th century, in the British Museum (Add. 30851, f. 160). Its liturgical use has been limited, but in the Mozarabic Breviary (Toledo, 1502, f. 3136) it is given in the Office for the Dead. The full text is in Wackernagel, i., No. 40, and a part in Daniel, i., No. 115, pi ii. The form which has been most used is a cento beginning: Jam moesta quiesce querela, and consisting of stanzas 31, 15, 10-12, 32-36. This is found in Babst's Gesang-Buch, Leipzig, 1545, and many later collections, e.g. Dr. Zahn's Psalter und Harfe, Gütersloh, 1886, No. 480, and in Daniel, i., No. 115, pt. i. It was for generations a favourite funeral hymn among the Lutherans, and was sung in Latin in some parts of Germany till very recent times. Abp. Trench, in giving stanzas 31-44 in his Sacred Latin Poetry, speaks of them as the "crowning glory of the poetry of Prudentius." It has been translated into English direct from the Latin, and also through the German as follows :— i. From the Latin:— 1. Why weep ye, living brotherhood. By W. J. Blew, in The Church Hymn &Tune Book., 1852-55, in 5 stanzas of 6 lines, and again in H. Rice's Hymns, &c, 1870. 2. Cease, ye tearful mourners. By E. Caswall, in his Masque of Mary, &c, 1858, in 13 stanzas of 4 lines, and again in his Hymns & Poems, 1873. It was repeated in an abridged form in the 1862 Appendix to the Hymnal Noted; and in the Hymnary, 1872. 3. Be silent, O sad lamentation. By E. F. Littledale in the People's Hymnal, 1867, under the signature of "A.L.P." Other translations are:— 1. Ah! hush now your mournful complainings. Mrs. Charles. 1858. 2. Now your sorrowful plaints should be hush'd. J. W. Hewett. 1859. 3. Hush, Mother, too loud is thy weeping. H. Kynaston. 1862. 4. No more, ah, no more sad complaining. E. A. Washburn, N. York, 1865, revised for Schaff's Christ in Song, Oct., 1868, and published therein, 1809. 5. Each sorrowful mourner be silent. J. M. Neale, in the St. Margaret's Hymnal, 1875. ii. From the German:— Of the "Jam moesta quiesce querela" many translations have been made into German. Two of these have passed into English:— i. Hört auf mit Trauern und Klagen. A free translaton in 10 stanzas of 4 lines. First published in J. Eichorn's Geistliche Lieder, Frankfurt a. Oder, 1561, and thence in Wackernagel, iv. p. 191. Repeated in many later collections, often erroneously ascribed to Nicolaus' Hermann as in Bunsen's Versuch, 1833, No. 632. Translated as:— O weep not, mourn not o'er this bier. A good and full version by Miss Winkworth in the 1st ser. of her Lyra Germanica, 1855, p. 249. In her 2nd ed., 1856, p. 251, it is altered, and begins: "Now hush your cries, and shed no tear," and repeated thus in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 97. Also in Psalms & Hymns, Bedford, 1859, No. 269, and the Rugby School Hymn Book, 1866, No. 208. ii. Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben. This version has so little from the Latin that it is noted under its own first line (q. v.). [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.] --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

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Hymns of Prudentius translated by R. Martin Pope, The #10L

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