Monday, January 28, 2013

Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas VII

Pange Lingua
by St. Thomas Aquinas
Edward Caswall, tr.

Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world's redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;-
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
newer rites of grace prevail;
faith for all defects supplying,
where the feeble sense fail.

To the everlasting Father,
and the Son who reigns on high,
with the Holy Ghost proceeding
forth from Each eternally,
be salvation, honor, blessing,
might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

The most famous pop version, by Mocedades:

A bit more solemn:

I think something midway between these two has the potential to be truly stunning.


  1. MrsDarwin9:06 AM

    I 'bout died when the drums kicked in.

    I'm teaching chant to the Baptists this year (no, seriously) and have been trying to pick pieces that, while representative, will not offend ecumenical sensibilities. I was requested to avoid Marian chants, so no Ave Maria, but in your opinion, how would Pange Lingua go over?

  2. branemrys9:26 AM

    It's possible you might be able to slip it past them, but it's a hymn about transubstantiation, and if they notice that they probably won't regard it as sufficiently ecumenical..

    You probably could use the Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine stanzas from Adoro Te Devote (but not Adoro Te Devote itself), but in general all of Aquinas's hymns are very explicitly Catholic hymns about the Eucharist.

    I was trying to think of chants that would work. Dies Irae, probably, and Veni Sancte Spiritus, and the O Antiphons.

  3. MrsDarwin9:59 AM

    I really should blog about this.

    So far I've had great success teaching the Mass parts. :) Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei have been great hits, except that I have a few 11-year-olds who think it's a hoot every time to sing "gloria TUNA" in the Sanctus. We also chanted the Our Father in English, and this past week we learned In Paradisum. I've been pretty careful to draw out every scriptural reference -- I felt the thrill of victory when I asked if anyone could tell me who "Lazarus quondam paupere" was, and everyone said Lazarus raised from the dead instead of Lazarus and the rich man.

    Dies Irae -- I love it. I have some Christmas chants for next week (Puer natus in Bethlehem, Hodie Christus natus est), but we may have to do Dies Irae moving into Lent. Everyone likes Dies Irae. (And speaking of pop versions, here's the best Dies Irae for dancing:

  4. branemrys11:57 AM

    That was a surprisingly upbeat version of Judgment Day.


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