October 1, 2015

Now Hell is Vanquished / Iam Morte, Victor, Obruta

Painting by Luca Giordano (1634-1705) - Courtesy of Wikipedia

PROPER OF SAINTS - Now Hell is Vanquished is a translation by the Anglican Priest Winfred Douglas (1867-1944) of Iam Morte, Victor, Obruta by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini, OP (1695-1779). In 1757, Fr. Ricchini composed this hymn along with 3 others for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. Originally included only in the Dominican Breviary, they were added to the Roman Breviary in 1888. The four hymns are essentially one work: the first 3 hymns are comprised of 5 stanzas each (plus doxology) which correspond to the 15 mysteries of the traditional Rosary. The final hymn: Te Gestientem Gaudiis (the only one in use today) is a recapitulation of the first three hymns. In the Roman Breviary, Iam Morte, Victor, Obruta (which has as it's theme: the Glorious Mysteries) was traditionally sung at Lauds on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). Now Hell is Vanquished can be sung to any hymn tune with metre such as the 7th century Latin hymn: Creator Alme Siderum, as featured in the following video.

Tune: Creator Alme Siderum


1. Now Hell is vanquished; every chain
Of sin is broken; Christ again
Returning, victor over death,
The gates of heaven openeth.

 2. We mortals saw Him, till He passed
Into the heavens, where at last,
Partaker of God's glory bright,
He sitteth on the Father's right.

 3. From thence He sheds the promised boon,
The Holy Spirit, on His own
In fiery tongues of love, o'erspread
Above each sad disciple's head.

 4. The Virgin, from the flesh set free,
Is borne beyond the stars; where she
Receives from heaven's joyous throngs
The welcome of angelic songs.

 5. Twice six the stars that crown her brow;
The gracious Mother reigneth now
Beside her Son's eternal throne
O'er all creation as her own.

 6. All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

IAM MORTE, VICTOR, OBRUTA by Augustine Thomas Ricchini

 1. Iam morte, victor, obruta,
Ab inferis Christus redit,
Fractisque culpae vinculis,
Caeli recludit limina.

2. Visus satis mortalibus
Ascendit ad caelestia,
Dextraeque Patris assidet
Consors Paternae gloriae. 

3.  Quem iam suis promiserat,
Sanctum daturus Spiritum,
Linguis amoris igneis
Maestis alumnis impluit.

4. Soluta carnis pondere
Ad astra Virgo tollitur,
Excepta caeli iubilo,
Et Angelorum canticis.

5. Bis sena cingunt sidera
Almae parentis verticem:
Throno propinqua Filii
Cunctis creatis imperat.

6. Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.

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