Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

The proper office granted by Leo XIII (5 August, 1888) to the feast contains four hymns which, because of the pontiff's great devotion to the Rosary and his skilful work in classical Latin verse, were thought by some critics to be the compositions of the Holy Father himself. They have been traced, however, to the Dominican Office published in 1834 (see Chevalier, "Repertorium Hymnologicum", under the four titles of the hymns ) and were afterwards granted to the Dioceses of Segovia and Venice (1841 and 1848). Their author was a pious client of Mary, Eustace Sirena. Exclusive of the common doxology (Jesu tibi sit gloria, etc.) each hymn contains five four-lined stanzas of classical dimeter iambics. In the hymn for First Vespers (Coelestis aulae nuntium) the Five Joyful Mysteries are celebrated, a single stanza being given to a mystery. In the same manner the hymn for Matins (In monte olivis consito) deals with the Five Sorrowful Mysteries and that for Lauds (Jam morte victor obruta) with the Five Glorious Mysteries. The hymn for Second Vespers (Te gestientem gaudiis) maintains the symmetrical form by devoting three stanzas to a recapitulation of the three sets of myteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious ), prefacing them with a stanza which sums up all three and devoting a fifth to a poetical invitation to weave a crown of flowers from the "rosary" for the Mother of fair love. The compression of a single mystery " into a single stanza may be illustrated by the first stanza of the first hymn, devoted to the First Joyful Mystery :

Coelestis aulae nuntius,
Arcana pandens Numinis,
Plenam salutat gratia
Dei Parentem Virginem.

"The envoy of the Heavenly Court ,
Sent to unfold God's secret plan,
The Virgin hails as full of grace,
And Mother of the God made Man "
(Bagshawe).

The first (or prefatory) stanza of the fourth hymn sums up the three sets of mysteries:

Te gestientem gaudiis,
Te sauciam doloribus,
Te jugi amictam gloria,
O Virgo Mater, pangimus.

The still greater compression of five mysteries within a single stanza may be illustrated by the second stanza of this hymn :

Ave, redundans gaudio
Dum concipis, dum visitas,
Et edis, offers, invenis,
Mater beata, Filium.

"Hail, filled with joy in head and mind,
Conceiving, visiting, or when
Thou didst bring forth, offer, and find
Thy Child amidst the learned men."

Archbishop Bagshawe translates the hymns in his "Breviary Hymns and Missal Sequences" (London, s. d., pp. 114-18). As in the illustration quoted from one of these, the stanza contains (in all the hymns ) only two rhymes, the author's aim being "as much as possible to keep to the sense of the original, neither adding to this, nor taking from it" (preface). The other illustration of a fully-rhymed stanza is taken from another version of the four hymns (Henry in the "Rosary Magazine", Oct 1891). Translations into French verse are given by Albin, "La Poésie du Bréviaire with slight comment, pp. 345-56.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter