Happy Visitation Day! Monday’s hymn, Veniens Mater Inclita (“approaching mother acclaimed”), is a lovely meditation in which we put ourselves into the scene of the Blessed Mother to her cousin St. Elizabeth. In the hymn, all the nations of the church wait to hear Our Lady’s greeting, so that with the unborn John the Baptist we too may leap with joy.
As a salute to the day, we have made a fresh translation of this hymn into English, in a line-by-line literal form which can be sung to exactly the same Gregorian chant as the original Latin. Unlike most translations, this one is not intended to substitute for the original hymn. Instead, we think that singing the hymn in both Latin and (literal) English will help make the Latin original more transparent and intelligible to English speakers (at least, to most of us, whose Latin is not fluent).
For comparison, here are the Latin and English scores, with all verses:
The text is copied below.
May we rejoice at the greeting of the Blessed Mother!
Veniens Mater Inclita
(literal English translation to match Gregorian Latin melody)
Veniens, mater inclita, cum Sancti dono Spiritus, nos ut Ioannem visita in huius carnis sedibus. Arriving mother, much acclaimed, Bearing the Holy Spirit‘s gift: Come and see us as you saw John, Within this flesh where we reside. Procede, portans parvulum, ut mundus possit credere et tuae laudis titulum omnes sciant extollere. Proceed, and bring the little one, That all the world might yet believe, And so your title of praise may be Everywhere known and lifted high. Saluta nunc Ecclesiam, ut tuam vocem audiens exsurgat in laetitia, adventum Christi sentiens. Give salutation to the Church, So, at the hearing of your voice, She may rise up to high delight, As Christ‘s advent she now perceives. Maria, levans oculos, vide credentes populos: te quaerunt piis mentibus, his opem feres omnibus. Mary, as you lift up your eyes, See the believing nations here: They seek for you with pious minds, You will bring forth to all their aid. O verae spes laetitiae, nostrae portus miseriae, nos iunge caeli curiae ornatos stola gloriae. O certain hope of true delight, Our haven from all misery, Join us to heaven‘s noble court, Adorned in raiment glorious. Tecum, Virgo, magnificat anima nostra Dominum, qui laude te nobilitat et hominum et caelitum. Amen. Virgin, with you we magnify From our own soul the Sovereign Lord, He, who by praise ennobles you, With praise of man and heaven‘s host. Amen.
translation copyright ©2021 John R. Rose under CC BY-SA 4.0
Latin source: Solesmes Liber Hymnarius, 1983 (2019), p. 376