Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hymn for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul

For the poetic out there. I am struggling to find a decent hymn for the feast of St Peter and St Paul, so I thought I would have a go at translating the Latin Decora lux aeternitatis auream into metre (I really don't like the version in the New English Hymnal, just so that you know).

Below is (a) the translated text from Connelly's 'Hymns of the Roman Liturgy' and (b) my dodgy first draft of a hymn based on it. I have omitted from my translation the bits the go on about Rome for obvious reason. If you have any thoughts which would make it work better, please let me know.

(a) Fairly literal translation from Latin

A beauteous light streams down
from the eternal God
to grace with happiness the golden day
that brought reward to the Princes of the Apostles
and gave sinners a clear road to heaven.

Earth's teacher and heaven's doorkeeper,
Founders of Rome and judges of the world,
they take their place, laurel-crowned,
in heavens assembly —
the one triumphant through being beheaded,
the other through being crucified.

Peter, blessed shepherd, mercifully receive
your suppliants prayers
and with a word undo the chains of sin,
for to you was entrusted the power of opening heaven to men
and of shutting the open gate of heaven.

Paul, teacher without equal,
fashion our lives aright
and carry off our hearts with yours to heaven till faith,
whose vision is now veiled,
beholds the noonday glory,
and love, sun-like, is sole master of our hearts.

How happy, Rome, your fortune
in being dedicated to God in the Princes' noble blood;
for clad in your robe dyed purple with their blood
you far outstrip in beauty all else the world can show.

To God in essence one, in persons three,
the ruler of the universe,
be eternal glory, power and acclamation
through all the ages of ages.

(b) My poetic (???) translation

O glorious light, eternal ray,
Whose love and peace to us abound,
You make to shine the glorious day
The Princes of the church were crowned.

The great apostles by their lives
And teaching show us Christ the Lord,
Whose death and resurrection brings 
Pardon of sin and heaven’s reward.

O Peter, heaven’s keys you bear
O Paul, you teach the grace of God.
By sword and cross you came to share
The laurel crown and heaven’s laud. 

Blessed Peter, pray for us, your flock,
That loosed from chains of sin we may
By following the path you walked
share in the great, eternal day.

Saint Paul, unequalled teacher, pray,
teach us to live by faith, not sight
So may our hearts, transposed on high
Worship the uncreated light.

Unto the Blessed Trinity
Perpetual praise and glory be.
All power to the unity
Which reigns through all eternity.