Monday, June 16, 2008

Veni, O Jesse Virgula

Thinking about the Virgula verse of "Veni, Veni Emmanuel" and how it has been translated/paraphrased. The first is the Latin; the second is Neale's translation; and the rest are various variations that can be found in hymnals. (It is often the second verse, but not in every arrangment. in the 'O Antiphons' from which the hymn is derived the Radix verse, which becomes the Virgula verse in the hymn, is the fourth Antiphon.) They are different enough that you could almost sing them all together as a single hymn.

Veni, O Jesse virgula,
Ex hostis tuos ungula,
De specu tuos tartari
Educ et antro barathri.

Draw nigh, O Jesse’s Rod, draw nigh,
To free us from the enemy;
From Hell’s infernal pit to save,
And give us victory o’er the grave.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse’s stem
From every foe deliver them
That trust thy mighty power to save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.

O come, thou Branch of Jesse! draw
The quarry from the lion's claw;
From the dread caverns of the grave,
From nether hell, thy people save.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse's tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, thou Branch of Jesse’s Tree
Free them from Satan’s tyranny
That trust thy mighty power to save,
And give them Victory o’er the grave.

If translating literally, I'd very roughly translate the verse as : "Come, O branch of Jesse, / your own from the talon of foe, / your own from the caves of hell / and from the caverns of the abyss draw forth."

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