Veni, Veni Emmanuel!

Today's carol is based on the "O" antiphons of the Roman breviary, a text that dates back to the 8th century. The antiphons extend over a one week period, and December 23 is the "O Emmanuel" antiphon.

Below I've included the words to the Latin carol, along with the text of the antiphons. You can find the 15th century melody for the carol at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website, along with alternate music by the modern composers Bortniansky and Gounod. You can also find an English translation entitled "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."

Here is the text of the traditional Latin carol. Note the nice rhymes!

Veni, veni Emmanuel!
Captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.

CHORUS
Gaude, gaude; Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel.


Veni, O Jesse virgula!
Ex hostis tuos ungula,
de specu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.

CHORUS

Veni, veni O Oriens!
Solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas
dirasque noctis tenebras.

CHORUS

Veni, Clavis Davidica!
Regna reclude caelica!
Fac iter tutum superum
et claude vias inferum.

CHORUS

Veni, veni Adonai!
Qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice,
in Maiestate gloriae
.
CHORUS

Veni, O Sapientia!
Quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

CHORUS

Veni, veni, Rex gentium!
Veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.

CHORUS

Here is the text of the "O" antiphons in Latin, which provides the basic structure for the carol: O Sapientia, veni; O Adonai, veni; O Radix Jesse, veni; O Clavis David, veni; O Oriens, veni; O Rex gentium, veni; O Emmanuel, veni.

These antiphons were extraordinarily popular in the Middle Ages. They also contain an anagram. The first letters, SARCORE, can be rearranged to say: ERO CRAS, "I will be [with you] tomorrow."

December 17: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

December 18: O Adonai, et dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

December 19: O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur; veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardere.

December 20: O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

December 21: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni, et illumina sedentis in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

December 22: O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unem: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

December 23: O Emmanuel, Rex et legisfer noster, expectatio gentium, et Salvator erum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.






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