January 17, 2015

Canticles: Nunc Dimittis (Canticle of Simeon)

Aert de Gelder (1645-1727)
Painting by Aert de Gelder (1645-1727) - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Nunc Dimitttis is the Canticle of Simeon from Luke 2:29-32.  It takes it's title from the opening line of the Latin Vulgate translation by St. Jerome: "Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine" (Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord).  It has been traditionally sung at the conclusion of daily prayer since the 4th century. In the Roman Breviary it is sung at the end of Compline (Night Prayer). It is accompanied by an antiphon fitting for the liturgical season, such as the commonly sung: "Salva Nos Domine" featured in the following video:

Gregorian Chant

NUNC DIMITTIS (with Salva Nos Domine)

Salva nos domine vigilantes,
custodi nos dormientes;
ut vigilemus cum Christo,
et requiescamus in pace.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

January 1, 2015

Poem: The Flower

The Flower is a poem by George Herbert (1593–1633).  It was published posthumously in 1633 as part of his collection, The Temple. The version of The Flower included in the Poems for Advent and Christmas Appendix of the Divine Office (1974) is an abridgement of Herbert's original 7 stanza poem.

THE FLOWER by George Herbert, 1633

Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart
Could have recover’d greenness? It was gone
Quite under ground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown;
Where they together
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickning, bringing down to hell
And up to heaven in an houre;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell,
We say amiss,
This or that is:
Thy word is all, if we could spell.