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Medieval Latin Hymn Fragment: “…the world was subject to him.”

(orbis terraru(m) erat subdit(us)
illi Ps(alm) Domini est t(erra)
Euouae V. Exquirebant pue-
rum Maria et Joseph
Re. Inter cognotoes
et notos exin
Pastores in-
venerunt Mari-

the world/universe was subject
to him. The earth is the Lord’s… V(erse). Mary and Joseph were
looking for the child…
Re(sponse). among relatives
and friends…
Shepherds found Mary

am et Joseph
et infa(n)tem po-
situm in presepi-
o. Ps(alm) quod Ioseph
preparaverat bovi

and Joseph
and the infant
placed in a manger
Ps(alm). which Joseph
had prepared for cattle

These hymns would have been sung at the mass and Divine Office celebrating the Nativity of Christ. The psalm “Domini est terra” was sung at the Introit of the mass on Christmas Eve, and the “Pastores invenerung” (Luke 2, 16) was sung as the Sequence. The latter was also sung on the Feast of Saint Joseph and the Antiphon sung at matins early in the morning. The sequence of meaningless letters “Euouae” after the psalm is an abbreviation for the first letters of a common ending, a type of cadence in medieval music. Thus musical notation indicated both a “do” clef at the beginning of the recto and “fa” clef for the remaining hymns with a custos at the end of each line. A textual variant is the verse from Luke (2, 44) which omits the participle “festinantes” signifying “in a hurry” which is present in all versions of the Vulgate.

~Transcription, translation, and commentary by James T. Svendsen, associate professor emeritus, World Languages and Cultures, The University of Utah

MS chant frag. 3 — Parchment leaf from an Antiphonal, 16c. Spain.

~Description by Elizabeth A. Peterson, associate professor, Dept. of Art & Art History, The University of Utah, from Paging Through Medieval Lives, a catalog for an exhibition held November 2, 1997 through January 4, 1998 at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

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