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Medieval Latin Hymn Fragment: “‘You are my son.'”

(Dominus dixit ad me: Fill-)
us meus es tu.
Ego hodie genu-
i te. Ps(alm). Quare fre-(muerunt gentes)
In sole posuit…

(The Lord Yahweh has told me):
“You are my son.
Today I have become your father”
Ps(alm). Why (have the nations raged)?
In the sun

tabernaculu(m) su-
u(m) et ipse ta(m)qua(m)
spon(n)sus precede(n)s
de thalamo su(o) (exultavit)

In the sun he pitched his tent
and like a bridegroom
coming out of his pavilion/bedroom
has exulted…”

The first psalm was sung at the Introit early in the mass at midnight on December 25 celebrating the Nativity of Christ. The second was sung as the Sequence later in the mass. The oblong diamond indicates that a letter (usually an “M” or “N”) is missing in the text. The musical notation contains a “do” clef at the beginning of each line and a custos or “guard” at the end of each line.

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

MS chant frag. 2 — Parchment leaf from an Antiphonal, 16thc. Spain, the Proper of Time, Feast of the Vigil of the Octave of Christmas (1 Jan), Matins, First Nocturn.

~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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