Lauda Sion salvatorem, lauda Ducem et Pastorem

Lauda Sion salvatorem, lauda Ducem et Pastorem

Author: Thomas Aquinas
Published in 25 hymnals

Author: Thomas Aquinas

Thomas of Aquino, confessor and doctor, commonly called The Angelical Doctor, “on account of," says Dom Gueranger, "the extraordinary gift of understanding wherewith God had blessed him," was born of noble parents, his father being Landulph, Count of Aquino, and his mother a rich Neapolitan lady, named Theodora. The exact date of his birth is not known, but most trustworthy authorities give it as 1227. At the age of five he was sent to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino to receive his first training, which in the hands of a large-hearted and God-fearing man, resulted in so filling his mind with knowledge and his soul with God, that it is said the monks themselves would often approach by stealth to hear the words of piety and wisdo… Go to person page >


Lauda Sion Salvatorem. St. Thomas of Aquino. [Holy Communion.] This is one of the four Sequences which are alone retained in the revised Roman Missal, 1570, and later editions. It seems to have been written about 1260 for the Mass of the festival of Corpus Christi. For this festival St. Thomas, at the request of Pope Urban IV., drew up in 1263 the office in the Roman Breviary; and probably also that in the Roman Missal. In form this Sequence is an imitation of the "Laudes crucis attollamus " (q. v.), and con¬sists of 9 stanzas of 6 lines, followed by 2 of 8 and then 1 of 10 lines. Among early Missals it is found in a French missal of the end of the 13th century (Add. 23935 f. 11 &), and a 14th century Sens (Add. 30058 f. 83 6) in the British Museum: in a Sarum, c. 1370 (Barlow 5, p. 256); a Hereford, c. 1370; a York, c. 1390, and a Roman of the end of the 13th cent. (Liturg. Misc. 354 f. 58 &), all now in the Bodleian: in the St. Andrew’s Missal (printed ed. 1864, p. 213) ; in the Magdeburg of 1480, and many other German Missals, &c. Its use was primarily for Corpus Christi; but in the Sarum use stanzas xi., xii. ("Ecce panis angelorum") might be used during the octave. In the York use the complete form was used on Corpus Christi, and during the octave it was divided into three parts said on succeeding days, viz. (1) stanzas i.-iv.; (2) v.-viii. ("Quod in coena Christus gessit"), and (3) ix.-xii. ("Sumunt boni, sumunt mali "). It has often been used as a Processional; at the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (especially stanzas xi. xii.), and other occasions. The printed text is also in Mone, No. 210; Wackernagel, i., No. 230; Daniel, ii. 97. and v. 73; Kehrein, No. 150; Bässler, No. 100; March's Latin Hymns, 1875, p. 165, &c. The text, with a full commentary, is given in Dr. J. Kayser's Beiträge zur Geschichte und Erklärung der älteslen Kirchenhymne, vol. ii., 1886, pp. 77-109.

As a historical document, and an example of harmonious and easy rhythmic flow of verse combined with the most definite doctrinal teaching, this sequence is of great interest. Considered however as a hymn for present day use (especially if for use in the Reformed Churches) the case is entirely different. Mane characterises it as "a dogmatic didactic poem on the Holy Communion;" and Kehrein as a "severely dogmatic sequence." It is in fact a doctrinal treatise in rhymed verse, setting forth the theory of Transubstantiation at length and in precise detail. In stanza vii. the refusal of the cup to the laity is implied in the assertion that the whole Christ is given in either species:—

"Sub diversis speciebus,
Signis tamen et non rebus
Latent res exitniae:
Caro cibus, sanguis potus,
Manet tamen Christus totus
Sub utraque specie."

This, in Canon Oakeley's translation, 1850, reads:—

"Beneath two differing species
(Signs only, not their substances)
Lie mysteries deep and rare;
His Flesh the meat, the drink his Blood,
Yet Christ entire, our heavenly food.
Beneath each kind is there."

Again in stanza x. St. Thomas is very definite and emphatic in his warning:—

“Fracto demum sacramento
Ne vacilles, sed memento,
Tantuni esse sub fragmento,
Quantum toto tegitur.
Nulla rei fit scissura,
Signi tantum fit fractura
Qua nee status nee statura
Signati minuitur."

This is translation by Canon Oakeley as:—

"Nor be thy faith confounded, though
The Sacrament be broke; for know,
The life which in the whole doth glow,
In every part remains;
The Spirit which those portions hide
No force can cleave; we but divide
The sign, the while the Signified
Nor change nor loss sustains."

The modern use which is made of the hymn in its English forms will be gathered from the translations noted below. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

In translating this Sequence no difficulty has been found where the translator has held the distinct doctrine of Transubstantiation in common with St. Thomas. The difficulty has arisen when his hard and clear cut sentences have had to be modified, and his dogmatism to be toned down to fit in with convictions of a less pronounced character. The result is that the translations for private devotion are usually very literal; whilst those for public worship are, either the former modified and arranged in centos, or else paraphrases which have little of the "Lauda Sion" in them but the name. The translations are:—

1. Break forth, 0 Sion, thy sweet Saviour sing. By F. C. Husenbeth, in his Missal for the Laity, 1840. This paraphrase is extended to 24 stanzas of unequal length, and is very literal in its doctrinal teaching.
2. Praise thy Saviour, Sion, praise Him. By E. B. Pusey in his translation of the Paradise of the Christian Soul, 1847, p. 133. This is a modified translation.
3. Praise high the Saviour, Sion, praise. By Canon Oakeley, in his translation of the Paradise of the Christian Soul. London, Burns, 1850, p. 414. A literal translation.
4. Sion, lift thy voice, and sing. By E. Caswall, in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 236; and his Hymns and Poems, 1873, p. 124. A literal translation.
5. Praise, Oh Sion, praise thy Pastor. By J. R. Beste, in his Church Hymns, 1849, p. 17. A literal translation.
6. Zion, thy Redeemer praising. By A. D. Wackerbarth, in his Lyra Ecclesiastica , Pt. ii., 1843, p. 7. A literal translation. Also in O. Shipley's Annus Sanctus, 1884.
7. Praise, O Sion, praise thy Pastor. In the 1863 Appendix to the Hymnal Noted, No. 218. It is based upon Wackerbarth, but indebted more especially to Caswall and Beste.
8. Sion, praise thy Prince and Pastor. By W. J. Blew, in his Church Hymns & Tune Book, 1852-55. An abbreviated and modified form.
9. Laud, 0 Syon, thy Salvation. By J. D. Chambers, in his Lauda Syon, 1857, p. 222. Slightly modified.
10. Laud, 0 Sion, thy Salvation. A cento in O. Shipley's Divine Liturgy, 1863; again, in a different form, in the Altar Manual , by Littledale and Vaux, 1863, and again in the People's Hymnal, 1867. This cento is mainly from Dr. Pusey's, Wackerbarth's, and Chambers's translataions mostly rewritten. This, slightly altered, is in the Hymner , 1882.
11. Praise, 0 Sion, thy Salvation. A cento in the Hymnary , rewritten mainly from Wackerbarth, Chambers, and the People's Hymnal translations. It is given in two parts, Part ii. being "Lo, the bread which angels feedeth." Another translation of stanzas xi., xiii. in 7's metre, is given as Pt. iii., "Earthly pilgrim, joyful see."
12. Laud thy Saviour, Sion praise Him. A cento in 6 stanzas based chiefly on J. D. Chambers, Dr. Pusey, and others in the 1870 Appendix to the Hymnal for the Use of St. John the Evangelist, Aberdeen.
13. Sion, to Thy Saviour singing. By A. R. Thompson. This is merely a paraphrase of stanzas i.-iv., xi., xii. The essential part of the hymn is omitted, and as a rendering of St. Thomas's Sequence it has no claim. The 6 stanzas appeared in the American Sunday School Times, 1883; and again, in two parts, in Laudes Domini, 1884, Pt. ii. beginning, "Here the King hath spread His table."
14. Sing forth, 0 Sion, sweetly sing. By J. D. Aylward in 0. Shipley's Annus Sanctus, 1884.
15. Sion, praise Thy Saviour King. By J. Wallace, in his Hymns of the Church, 1874. A literal translation.
Three versions from the older translators must be mentioned here:—
16. Praise, 0 Syon! praise thy Saviour. By R. Southwell, in his Mæniç, or Certaine excellent Poems and Spiritual Hymnes, &c, 1595.
17. A special theme of praise is read. A cento in 3 stanzas of 6 lines, by Bishop Cosin, in his Collection of Private Devotions, &c, 1627 (11th ed., 1838, p. 285).
18. Rise, royal Sion, rise and sing. By R. Crawshaw, in the 2nd edition of his Steps to the Temple, &c, 1648, and again in an altered form into the Dorrington and Hicke editions of John Austin's Devotions.
From the foregoing translations and centos, stanzas xi. and xii., beginning, Ecce, panis Angelorum, are often used as a separate hymn. The following are the opening lines:—
1. See for food to pilgrims given. E. B. Pusey. (No. 2.)
2. The Bread of angels, lo, is sent. Canon Oakeley. (No. 3.)
3. Lo, upon the Altar lies. E. Caswall. (No. 4.) This is in use as translated by Caswall, and also altered to "Lo, before our longing eyes," in the Dutch Reformed Hymns of the Church, N. Y., 1869.
4. See the bread of angels lying. J. R. Beste. (No. 5.)
5. Bread that angels eat in heaven. A. D. Wackerbarth. (No. 6.)
6. Lo, the Bread which angels feedeth. Hymnal Noted (No.7), and the Hymnary, 1872.
7. Lo, the angels' Food is given. In the Introits prefixed to some editions of Hymns Ancient & Modern, n.d., and again in the People's Hymnal, 1867. This was repeated in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1868; the Hymnary (with slight alterations), 1872; the Altar Hymnal, 1884. In Hymns Ancient & Modern 1875, it is claimed on behalf of "The Compilers."
8. Lo, the Bread which angels feedeth. J. D. Chambers. (No. 9.)
9. Lo the angels' food descending. A. R. Thompson. (No. 13.)
10. Behold, the Bread of angels, sent. J. D. Aylward. (No. 14.)
Although the renderings in part and in whole of the "Lauda Sion" are thus numerous, the use of any of these translations in public worship is very limited.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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