medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

As new medievalist at St Edmund Hall, I was asked by the chaplain to provide a new translation for the neo-Latin hymn of the College’s founder and patron saint. To do this, I did a bit of background reading about Austin Farrer, the former chaplain and well-known theologian who composed the hymn during his time at the Hall at the request of the then principal, A.B. Emden.  A short account<> of my this can be found on the news-page of the College ; I copy below the text of Farrer’s hymn since the only available edition (in the biography of him by Philip Curtis: ‚A Hawk among Sparrows: A Biography of Austin Farrer‘ (1985, reissued Wipf & Stock Publishers 2014); the hymn itself is given as appendix 2, p. 240, Appendix 2) contains several typos. The versification of the draft translation was done by Tom Cuclas, a graduate of the Hall.

Haec est dies quam nobili
Christus sacravit gaudio,
Edmunde, te fortissimum
Donans corona militem.
Tu sorte natus diviti
Pauper beatus spiritu:
Tu supplicanti porrigis
Dextram sinistra nescia.
Tu parvulos contemnere
Caves amore sedulo:
Quibus ministrans frigidae
Potum minister fis Deo.
Doctor sapis caelestia
Sanctae columbae numine:
Praesul gubernas Israel
Saccum tegente purpura.
Pacem tyranno dicere,
Pax nulla cum sit, abnuis:
Ad sempiternum cor levans
Mali sagittas negligis.
Das exsul ossa Franciae,
Aulam paras Oxoniae;
Quae te patrono gaudeat
Virtute florens perpeti.
Praestet Pater piissimus,
Patrique compar Unicus
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
Regnans in omne saeculum.

This is the day that Christ the Lord
Has consecrated to delight,
To give to Edmund, you the brave,
The crown befitting such a knight.
You who were born to this rich fate,
More blessed for being poor in spirit,
Your right hand gives, and never asks
What then the left hand shall inherit.
While some condemn those beaten down
You guard them with a zealous love,
Becoming as you slake their thirst
A minister of God above.
You heed the holy dove that calls,
A doctor reading from the skies:
You change the cloth for purple robes
And as the priest of Israel rise.
You make no truce with tyranny,
Rejecting such a hollow peace,
But bear the devil’s arrows still
And sue to God for your release.
You left your exiled bones to France,
Providing Oxford with a Hall,
Which now rejoices in your name
And flourishes to meet your call.
May God the Father grant us this,
And Christ, the Father’s only peer,
Together with the Holy Ghost
That they might reign forever here.

Henrike Lähnemann * Professor of Medieval German<>
Office: Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages * 41 Wellington Square * GB - OX1 2JF * 01865-270498
Postal address:  St Edmund Hall<> *Queen’s Lane * GB – OX1 4AR Oxford * Medingen website @HLaehnemann

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