Skip to content

Quicumque Christum Quærtis

The opening line of the twelfth (in honour of the Epiphany ) and last poem in the "Cathemerinon" of Prudentius. This twelfth poem or hymn contains 52 iambic dimeter strophes, and an irregular selection from its 208 lines has furnished four hymns to the Roman Breviary, all of which conclude with the usual Marian doxology ("Jesu tibi sit gloria" etc., not composed by Prudentius), slightly varied to make the doxology appropriate for the several feasts employing the hymns. The four centos are:

(1) Quicumque Christum qu ritis

( Matins and first and second Vespers of the feast of the Transfiguration ), comprising sixteen lines (1-4, 37-44, 85-88) and the doxology (which changes its second line):

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui te revelas parvulis, etc.

Although written for the Epiphany, the lines forming the cento apply well to the Transfiguration, as Daniel notes (Thes. Hymnol., I, p. 136). Of the 18 translations in English verse, twelve are by Catholics.

(2) O sola magnarum urbium

(Introduced by Pius V into the office of the Epiphany and assigned to Lauds ), comprises sixteen lines (77-80, 5-8, 61-4, 69-72) with the doxology (which changes its second line):

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui apparuisti gentibus, etc.

The Roman Breviary changes the opening words of the second strophe, "Hæc stella" into "Quem stella". The hymn has never been adopted by the Carthusians, Cistercians, Dominicans (these last using at Lauds the hymn "A patre unigenitus"). Of the seventeen translations into English verse, six are by Catholics.

(3) Audit tyrannus anxius

( Matins of the Holy Innocents and of the octave day), comprising twelve lines (93-100, 133-6) and the (unchanged) doxology, "Jesu tibi sit gloria" etc. The Roman Breviary changes the opening word of the third strophe "Quo proficit" into "Quid proficit".

(4) Salvete flores martyrum

( Lauds and Vespers of feast of the Holy Innocents and of the octave day), comprising (in the Roman Breviary cento) 8 lines (125-132) and the (unchanged) doxology, "Jesu, tibi sit gloria" etc. The third line of the second strophe is, in the Roman Breviary, "Aram sub ipsam . . .", instead of the original "Aram ante ipsam . . ." (or the other variants of this much-disputed line) -- a change which not only consults the interests of classical prosody but happily suggests the words of the Apocalypse (vi, 9): "Vidi subtus altare animas interfectorum . . .". Until the middle of the sixteenth century the Roman Breviary had no special hymns for this feast, but in 1568 hymns (3) and (4) were assigned by Pius V. The two hymns have never been adopted by the Carthusians, the Cistercians, the Dominicans, these last chanting at Lauds only the strophe from the abecedary of Sedulius (lines 37-40):

Caterva matrum personat
Collisa deflens pignora,
Quorum tyrannus millia
Christo sacravit victimas.

Clicthoue, Cassandre, Tommasi, favour the doxology :

Sit trinitati gloria,
Virtus, honor, victoria,
Quae dat coronam testibus
Per sæculorum sæcula --

But the Roman Breviary retains the usual doxology, which better connects the feast with its true background of the Christmas cycle. In selections of various length and arrangement, the "Salvete flores martyrum" was in ancient liturgical use, and substantially comprised both hymns (3) and (4) (Daniel, I, p. 124; IV, p. 120; Dreves, Anal. Hymn., L., p. 27, giving many manuscripts references, some dating back to the tenth century), and other strophes not now in use. The older breviaries inverted the order of Prudentius, placing the "Salvete flores" etc., before the "Audit tyrannus" etc.; but the Roman Breviary follows the original order, showing us at Matins the bloody spectacle, and at Lauds saluting the victors, the "flores martyrum". The Marquess of Bute'sRoman Breviary (1879) gives Neale's translation

All hail! ye infantMartyr flowers!
Cut off in life's first dawning hours,
As rose-buds snapped in tempest strife,
When Herod sought your Saviour's life.

The version has the value of retaining the similarity of rhythm with the original; but if ever a departure from this course is justifiable, Father Caswall has vindicated his action in changing the rhythm:

Flowers of martyrdom, all hail!
Smitten by the tyrant foe
On life's threshold -- as the gale
Strews the roses ere they blow.

Not to speak of the beauty and fidelity of the rendering, the trochaic rhythm vividly conveys the sense of suddenness of the onslaught, the ruthlessness and swiftness of the destruction, Caswall's version has been adopted by the (Baltimore) Manual of Prayers (with the first line changed into "Lovely flowers of Martyrs, hail!"). The Paris Breviary text had five strophes (exclusive of doxology ), but altered the first strophe as follows (in order to avoid unpleasant elisions):

Salvete flores martyrum,
In lucis ipso limine
Quos sævus ensis messuit,
Ceu turbo nascentes rosas.

There are in all about twenty-five versions into English, of which about half are by Catholics.

More Volume: Q 37

Click/Touch the sub-volume below to view encyclopedia articles within the sub-volume.

Qu 37

Quadragesima

( Latin, the fortieth). Quadragesima denotes a season of preparation by fasting and prayer, ...

Quadratus

The first of the Christian apologists. He is said by Eusebius (Chron. ad ann. Abrah. 2041, 124 ...

Quakers

The official designation of an Anglo - American religious sect originally styling themselves ...

Quality

(Greek poistes -- Plato, Aristotle -- poion ; Latin qualitas, quale .) Quality is used, ...

Quam singulari

A decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, 8 August, 1910, on the age at which ...

Quamichan Indians

The largest of the numerous small bands attached to Cowichan agency, at the southeast end of ...

Quantity

(Greek poson ; Latin quantitas , quantum , correlate to tantum ) Aristotle, in his ...

Quapaw Indians

A tribe now nearly extinct, but formerly one of the most important of the lower Mississippi ...

Quarantines

"Quarantines" is an expression frequently used in the grants of indulgences, and signifies a strict ...

Quaresmius, Franciscus

A writer and Orientalist of the seventeenth century, born at Lodi (Lombardy), 4 April, 1583; ...

Quebec, Archdiocese of

(QUEBECENSIS) The Archdiocese of Quebec, in Canada, comprises the counties of Beauce, ...

Quebec, The Province of

GEOGRAPHY The province of Quebec occupies mainly the two slopes of the vast basin formed by the ...

Queen's Daughters

(DAUGHTERS OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, FILIÆ REGINÆ COELI) A religious and charitable ...

Quelen, Hyacinthe-Louis De

Archbishop of Paris, born at Paris, 8 Oct., 1778; died there 31 Dec., 1839. He was educated ...

Quem terra, pontus, sidera

An ancient hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin, ascribed to Fortunatus by Thomasius and ...

Querétaro, Diocese of

(DE QUERETARO) Located in Mexico; suffragan of Michoacan. Its area is that of the state of ...

Quercia, Jacopo Della

Sculptor, born (it is said) at Quercia Grossa, near Siena, 1374; died 20 October, 1438. His ...

Quesnel, Pasquier

(PASCHASE) Pasquier Quesnel, born in Paris, 14 July, 1634; died at Amsterdam, 2 December, ...

Quevedo, Juan de

Franciscan, native of Bejori, Old Castile , Spain ; died at Barcelona, 24 December, 1519. His ...

Quiñones, Francis

(Quignonez.) Cardinal, born in the Kingdom of Leon, Spain, c. 1482; died at Veroli, Italy, 5 ...

Quiche

(UTLATECA) The principal aboriginal tribe or nation of Guatemala. They belong to the great ...

Quichua Indians

Quichua Indians, formerly the dominant people of the Empire of Peru, and still the largest ...

Quicumque Christum Quærtis

The opening line of the twelfth (in honour of the Epiphany ) and last poem in the ...

Quierzy, Councils of

(Kierzy, Carisiacum) Several councils were held at Quierzy, a royal residence under the ...

Quiet, Prayer of

The Prayer of Quiet is regarded by all writers on mystical theology as one of the degrees of ...

Quietism

Quietism ( Latin quies, quietus , passivity) in the broadest sense is the doctrine which ...

Quilon, Diocese of

(QUILONENSIS) Diocese of Quilon, in India on the Malabar coast, suffragan of Verapoly, ...

Quimper, Diocese of

(CORISOPITENSIS) Diocese of Quimper includes the Department of Finistère; as ...

Quin, Michael Joseph

Originator of the "Dublin Review", born at Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, 1796; died at ...

Quinctianus, Saints

(1) Under the date 1 April the present "Roman Martyrology " mentions a saint of this name, ...

Quinquagesima

(Fiftieth.) The period of fifty days before Easter. It begins with the Sunday before Ash ...

Quintana, Agustín

Missionary and Indian philologist, born at Antequera, the capital of Oaxaca, Mexico, about 1660; ...

Quiricus and Julitta

Martyred under Diocletian. The names of these two martyrs, who in the early Church enjoyed a ...

Quirini, Angelo Maria

(Querini). Cardinal and scholar, born at Venice, 30 March, 1680; died at Brescia, 6 January, ...

Quirinus, Saints

Several martyrs of this name are mentioned in the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" and in the ...

Quito, Archdiocese of

(QUITENSIS) The city of Quito, formerly known as San Francisco de Quito, capital of the ...

Never Miss any Updates!

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

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.