Rorate Caeli


Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio, 
umile e alta più che creatura, 
termine fisso d'etterno consiglio,
Fra Angelico
Coronation of the Virgin

tu se' colei che l'umana natura
nobilitasti sì, che 'l suo fattore
non disdegnò di farsi sua fattura.
In te misericordia, in te pietate,
in te magnificenza, in te s'aduna
quantunque in creatura è di bontate.

Or questi, che da l'infima lacuna
de l'universo infin qui ha vedute
le vite spiritali ad una ad una,

supplica a te, per grazia, di virtute
tanto, che possa con li occhi levarsi
più alto verso l'ultima salute.

E io, che mai per mio veder non arsi
più ch'i' fo per lo suo, tutti miei prieghi
ti porgo, e priego che non sieno scarsi,

perché tu ogne nube li disleghi
di sua mortalità co' prieghi tuoi,
sì che 'l sommo piacer li si dispieghi.

Ancor ti priego, regina, che puoi
ciò che tu vuoli, che conservi sani,
dopo tanto veder, li affetti suoi.
Paradiso (c. XXXIII)

(Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son / Humble and high beyond all other creature, / The limit fixed of the Eternal Counsel, / Thou art the one who such nobility / To human nature gave, that its Creator / Did not disdain to make himself its creature./... In thee compassion is, in thee is pity, / In thee magnificence, in thee unites / Whate'er of goodness is in any creature. / Now doth this man, who from the lowest depth / Of the universe as far as here has seen / One after one the spiritual lives, / Supplicate thee through grace for so much power / That with his eyes he may uplift himself / Higher towards the uttermost salvation. / And I, who never hurned for my own seeing / More than I do for his, all of my prayers / Proffer to thee, and pray they come not short, / That thou wouldst scatter from him every cloud / Of his mortality so with thy prayers, / That the Chief Pleasure be to him displayed. / Still farther do I pray thee, Queen, who canst / Whate'er thou wilt, that sound thou mayst preserve / After so great a vision his affections. - Transl.: Longfellow)

Plus: On the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin, one of our favorite sacred compositions of all time, des Prez's "Benedicta est caelorum regina", in its proper place: Most Holy Mass.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I love the XXXIII Canto - I have a very nice Dorothy Sayers translation that begins like this:

"O Virgin Mother, Daughter of thy Son,
Lowliest and loftiest of created stature,
Fixed goal to which the eternal counsels run.

Thou art that She by whom our human nature
Was so enobled that it might become
The Creator to create Himself His creature.


Lady, so great thou art and such thy might,
The seeker after grace who shuns thy knee
May aim the prayer, but fails to wing the flight.

Not only does thy succour flow out free
To him who asks, but many a time the aid
Fore-runs the prayer, such largesse is in thee.