Adam of St. Victor. Of the life of this, the most prominent and prolific of the Latin hymnists of the Middle Ages, very little is known. It is even uncertain whether he was an Englishman or a Frenchman by birth. He is described by the writers nearest to his own epoch, as Brito, which may indicate a native of either Britain, or Brittany. All that is certainly known concerning him is, that about A.D. 1130, after having been educated at Paris, he became, as quite a young man, a monk in the Abbey of St. Victor, then in the suburbs, but afterwards through the growth of that city, included within the walls of Paris itself. In this abbey, which, especially at that period, was celebrated as a school of theology, he passed the whole of the rest of h… Go to person page >
Laudes crucis attollamus. Adam of St. Victor. [Passiontide. Holy Cross.] This Sequence has been generally ascribed to Adam of St. Victor, and is given by L. Gautier in his edition of Adam's Oeuvres poetiques, 1881, p. 224, as probably by him, and is there quoted from a Limoges Sequentiary of the 12th or 13th century (Bibl. Nat. Paris, No. 1139), and other sources. It is found in a Gradual apparently written in England during the 12th century, and now in the British Museum (Reg. 2 B. iv. f. 173 6); in a manuscript of the end of the 12th century, now in the Bodleian (Liturg. Misc. 341 f. 516); while Morel, p. 36, cites it as in a Fischingen manuscript of the 11th century, an Einsiedeln manuscript of the 12th century, &c. In a 14th century Paris Missal, and a 14th century Sens Missal in the British Museum; as also in the Sarum, York, Hereford, St. Andrews, and many other Missals (e.g. the Magdeburg Missal, 1480); it is the Sequence for the Festival of the Invention or the Exaltation of the Cross. The printed text is also in Daniel, ii. p. 78; Kehrein, No. 60; D. S. Wrangham, ii. 46, and others. Dr. Neale, in his Mediaeval Hymns, speaks of it as "perhaps the masterpiece of Adam of St. Victor"; but this is greatly to overrate it, save for its technical qualities. It is a panegyric of the cross, in which the types in the Old Testament are drawn out at length. It is quite impossible to give an adequate version of it in good English. Translated as:— Be the Cross our theme and story. By J. M. Neale, in his Mediæval Hymns, 1851, p. 95, in 12 st. of unequal lines. In 1864, 4 stanzas were given in Skinner's Daily Service Hymnal, No. 236; and in 1882, 9 stanzas in the Hymner, as No. 134.
Other translations are:—
1. To the Cross its due laudation. D. S. Wrangham, ii. 1881.
2. Come, let us with glad music. H. W. Lloyd, in O. Shipley's Annus Sanctus. 1884. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]