Thursday, January 1, 2015

Quem terra pontus aethera . . . (attr. Venantius Fortunatus, c.530-c.610) / The God whom earth and sea and sky . . . (John Mason Neale, 1818-1866)

Quem terra pontus aethera . . .
The God whom earth and sea and sky . . .

     Hymn, Office of readings, Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Liturgy of the hours, vol. 1, p. 1326, and elsewhere.
     If this is really by Venantius Fortunatus (c.530-c.610), then why does it appear in the Spuriorum Appendix in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.1, ed. Leo Friedrich (Berlin:  Wiedmann, 1881), p. 385?
     I haven't yet checked to be sure that it hasn't been rehabilitated since 1881, for example in Poèmes, ed. Reydellet, Collection des universités de France (Paris:  Les Belles Lettres, 1994-2004).

     The Neale translation as printed originally (?) on p. 183 of Part II (1856 [1854]) of The hymnal noted (London & New York:  Novello, Ewer and Co.; J. Masters and Son); cf. the only very slightly different Collected hymns, sequences and carols of John Mason Neale, ed. Mary Sackville Lawson (London:  Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), 144 (note that the original differs markedly from its appearance elsewhere, just for example in Liturgy of the hours, above):

The God Whom earth, and sea, and sky,
Adore, and laud, and magnify;
Who o'er their threefold fabric reigns,
The Virgin's spotless womb contains.

The God, Whose will by moon and sun
And all things in due course is done,
Is borne upon a Maiden's breast,
By fullest heav'nly grace possess'd.

How blest that Mother, in whose shrine
The great Artificer Divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Vouchsafed, as in His ark, to lie!

Blest, in the message Gabriel brought;
Blest, by the work the Spirit wrought;
From whom the Great Desire of earth
Took human flesh and human birth.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee!
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.  Amen.

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