Monday, 25 March 2013

Glade us maiden, moder milde

Happy New Year! OK, not quite; but it's Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, or at least it would be if it wasn't Holy Week.  It's transferred until April this year, but that needn't stop us enjoying a medieval Annunciation poem today.  I love this sub-genre of poems, of which there are maybe twenty million examples (not an exact approximation) - some particular favourites include 'Ecce ancilla domini' and 'Nu this fules singet'.  I also posted a variety of Annunciation scenes from English manuscripts (of which there are, again, an uncountable number) here.  Today's poem is a translation of the Latin hymn 'Gaude virgo mater Christi, que per aurem concepisti', and it's preserved in a thirteenth-century manuscript from the West Midlands (Trinity College Cambridge MS. 323).

Glade us maiden, moder milde,
Þurru þin herre þu were wid childe;
Gabriel he seide it þe.

Glade us, ful of gode þine,
Þam þu bere buten pine
Wid þe lilie of chastete.

Glade us of iesu þi sone
Þat þolede deit for monis loue;
Þat dehit was, quiic up aros.

Glade us maiden, crist up stey
& in heuene þe i-sey;
He bar him seluen into is clos.

Glade us marie, to Ioye ibrout,
Muche wrchipe crist hau þe i-worut,
In heuene brit in þi paleis;

Þer þat frut of þire wombe
Be i-yefin us forto fonden
In Ioye þat is endeles.

This is not much more than a simple translation, but I do like it.  I've written before above my love for the word 'glad'; I don't entirely understand why the English poet chose to translate 'Gaude' ('rejoice') as 'Gladden us' - that is, why the focus should be on Mary making us rejoice rather than rejoicing herself - but if inaccurate, it works perfectly well.  (Maybe he, like me, found the idea of telling Mary to rejoice one of the odder poetic conventions of religious verse!)  The rhyme-scheme is nice, a little more interwoven than the Latin original.  A modernised version might be:

Glad us, maiden, mother mild; through thine hearing thou wert with child; Gabriel told it to thee.

Glad us, full of thy God, whom thou didst bear without pain, with the lily of chastity.

Glad us with Jesu thy son, who suffered death for love of man, who was dead, and alive rose.

Glad us, maiden: Christ ascended into heaven; in thy sight, he bore himself into his courts.

Glad us Mary, to joy brought - much honour Christ has for thee wrought! - into heaven bright, in thy palace,

Where the fruit of thy womb may be given to us forever, in joy that is endless.

The Latin:

Gaude, virgo mater Christi,
Quae per aurem concepisti,
Gabriele nuntio.
Gaude, quia Deo plena
Peperisti sine poena,
Cum pudoris lilio.
Gaude, quia tui nati
Quem dolebas mortem pati,
Fulget resurrectio.
Gaude Christo ascendente,
Et in coelum te vidente,
Motu fertur proprio.
Gaude que post ipsum scandis,
Et est honor tibi grandis,
In caeli palatio.
Ubi fructus ventris tui,
Nobis detur per te frui,
In perenni gaudio.

Lydgate also wrote a lyric based on this hymn - Be gladde mayde moder of Cryst Ihesu.

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