Angelus ad Virginem

In addition to publishing Latin translations of popular Christmas carols, I also want to include traditional Latin Christmas songs. Among these, the Angelus ad Virginem is one of the most famous. The Angelus is a medieval Latin carol dating back to the late 13th century. It is even mentioned by Chaucer in the Miller's Tale: "Playing so sweetly that the chamber rang; / And Angelus ad virginem he sang..."

To learn the tune, you can find a MIDI file and a PDF file of the sheet music online at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website. This website also has an English translation. You might also take a look at a beautiful adaptation by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. There is also a Wikipedia article about this hymn.

What I like best about this carol is the lovely rhyme scheme. I hope the layout used below will help you to follow the intricate pattern of rhyme. Classical Latin poetry does not rhyme, but rhyme is one of the distinctive features of medieval Latin poetry, making it very congenial for English speakers, since the English poetry tradition is also rich in rhyme.

Angelus, ad virginem
subintrans in conclave,
virginis formidinem
demulcens, inquit "Ave."

"Ave regina virginum!
Caeli terraeque dominum
concipies,
et paries
intacta
salutem hominum.
Tu porta caeli facta,
medela criminum."

"Quomodo conciperem,
quae virum non cognovi?
Qualiter infringerem,
quod firma mente vovi?"

"Spiritus Sancti gratia
perficiet haec omnia.
Ne timeas,
sed gaudeas,
secura
quod castimonia
manebit in te pura
Dei potentia."

Ad haec virgo nobilis
respondens inquit ei:
"Ancilla sum humilis
omnipotentis Dei.

Tibi, caelesti nuntio,
tanti secreti conscio,
consentiens
et cupiens
videre
factum quod audio,
parata sum parere
Dei consilio."

Angelus disparuit
et statim puellaris
uterus intumuit
vi partus salutaris.

Qui, circumdatus utero
novem mensium numero,
hinc exiit
et iniit
conflictum,
affigens humero
crucem, qua dedit ictum
hosti mortifero.

Eia Mater Domini,
quae pacem reddidisti
angelis et homini
cum Christum genuisti.

Tuum exora filium
ut se nobis propitium
exhibeat,
et deleat
peccata,
praestans auxilium
vita frui beata
post hoc exsilium.



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