Welcome, Happy Morning
This great Easter hymn was composed by Venantius Fortunatus, an Italian who lived roughly from 530 to 600 or some time thereafter. Born in Venezia, near Treviso, he was educated in the then still-civilized Ravenna some time after Justinian's reconquest of Italy. He made his way to the Frankish court in Metz, where he established himself as court poet. Moving to Tour and Poitiers, he was befriended by Radegunde, one of the numerous wives of King Clotaire and became a friend of Bishop Gregory of Tours, the chronicler of Frankish history. Venantius, who was eventually was made Bishop of Poitiers, is the author of many well-known hymns, including "Vexilla regis prodeunt and "Salva, festa dies," which in the translation of the Rev. John Ellerton, an Anglican clergyman, was set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan--a joyous hymn that I don't know why is not sung in Catholic churches. The Latin text is followed by Ellerton's version, which is followed by a leaden-footed more or less literal translation.
Salve festa dies toto venerabilis aevo
Qua Deus infernum vicit et astra tenet
Ecce renascentis testatur gratia mundi
Omnia cum Domino dona redisse suo
Namque triumphanti post tristia tartara Christo
Undique fronde nemus gramina flore favent
Qui crucifixus erat Deus, ecce per omnia regnat
Dantque Creatori cuncta creata precem
Christe, salus rerum, bone Conditor atque Redemptor
Unica progenies ex Deitate Patris
Qui genus humanum cernens mersisse profundo
Ut hominem eriperes es quoque factus homo
Funeris exsequias pateris vitae auctor et orbis
Intras mortis iter dando salutis opem.
|Welcome, Happy Morning! Hymn
“Welcome, happy morning!” age to age shall say:
“Hell today is vanquished, Heav’n is won today!”
Lo! the dead is living, God forevermore!
Him, their true Creator, all His works adore!
“Welcome, happy morning!”
Age to age shall say.
Earth her joy confesses, clothing her for spring,
All fresh gifts returned with her returning King:
Bloom in every meadow, leaves on every bough,
Speak His sorrow ended, hail His triumph now.
Months in due succession, days of lengthening light,
Hours and passing moments praise Thee in their flight.
Brightness of the morning, sky and fields and sea,
Vanquisher of darkness, bring their praise to Thee.
Maker and Redeemer, life and health of all,
Thou from heaven beholding human nature’s fall,
Of the Father’s Godhead true and only Son,
Mankind to deliver, manhood didst put on.
Thou, of life the Author, death didst undergo,
Tread the path of darkness, saving strength to show;
Come, then True and Faithful, now fulfill Thy Word;
’Tis Thine own third morning; rise, O buried Lord!
Loose the souls long prisoned, bound with Satan’s chain;
All that now is fallen raise to life again;
Show Thy face in brightness, bid the nations see;
Bring again our daylight: day returns with Thee!
Hail, festal day, venerable of all ages
By which God conquers hell and holds the stars
Behold, it declares grace for a reborn world
All gifts have returned with their Lord.
For indeed, after hellish sorrows, to the triumphing Christ:
grove with green and buds with flower, everywhere give laud.
The Crucified One was God, behold He reigns over all things,
and all creation offers prayer to its Creator.
O Christ, the salvation of all things,
good Creator and Redeemer, only begotten Son of God the Father.
You Who, seeing mankind to have plunged to the deep,
that you might save man, were also made man.
That Thou, the author of life and the world, might open
the way of death and the grave by giving hope of salvation.