Sarum Sequence for the Second Sunday of Advent

Continuing my project of offering translations and versifications of four sequences appearing in the Sarum rite marking the four Sundays of the season of Advent, I present “Regnantem sempiterna” for the second Sunday.  My source for these Sarum sequences is Charles Buchanan Pearson, Sequences from the Sarum Missal, with English translations (London: Bell and Daldy, 1871), though I have also consulted F[rederick] E[dward] Warren, The Sarum Missal in English (London: A. Moring Ltd, 1911) which employs Pearson’s versifications.

The following first presents the Latin text with a slavishly literal translation by yours truly below each line. As should be immediately apparent, I was unable to offer a base translation for the first two lines of the sequence, mostly because I have been unable to find the terms “concio” and “concrepa” in the resources available to me. Since I am quite conscious of my limitations as a Latinist, if any would want to supplement and/or correct my base translation I would be grateful.


Regnantem sempiterna per saecla susceptura

Concio devota concrepa;

Divino sono Factori reddendo debita.
Returning debts/repaying vows to the Divine Maker.
Cui jubilant agmina caelica ejus vultu exhilarata,
To whose face the heavenly legions rejoicing sing praise,
Quem expectant omnia terrea ejus nutu examinanda:
Whom all earthly things await being examined at his nod:
Districtum ad judicia,
Severe in judgments,
Clementem in potentia.
Merciful in power.
Tua nos salva, Christe, clementia, propter quos passus es dira;
Save us, O Christ, by your mercy, on account of the fearful things you underwent;
Ad poli astra subleva nitida, Qui sorde tergis saecula.
Lift them up to the gleaming stars, O You who wipe the ages of their filth.
Influat salus vera effugans pericula:
May true health/salvation shower down, driving away dangers:
Omnia ut sint munda tribue pacifica:
Grant that all cleansed things be at peace:
Ut hic Tua salvi misericordia
So that you might save them with Your mercy of heart.
Laeti regna post adeamus supera:
Afterwards let us go rejoicing to the realms above
Quo regnas saecula per infinita. Amen.
In which you reign through infinite ages. Amen.

Pearson’s versification of the sequence text follows:

Let the choir devoutly bring
Welcome to th’eternal King,
And with one consent renew
The Creator’s homage due.

Him angelic legions praise,
On His face enraptured gaze.
On him wait all earthly things
Till His nod their trial brings.

Awful He in judgments deep
Yet in might doth mercy keep;
By Thine agony of woe
Pity, Lord, and save us now.

To the gleaming stars on high
Raise the world in purity:
Let Thy saving health appear
Scattering perils far and near.

Bid the universe be clean,
Let us live in peace serene,
Till unto those realms we soar
Where Thou reignest evermore.

Where the Sarum sequence for the First Sunday of Advent seemed to me to function as a general introduction to the two foci of the Advent season, “Regnantem sempiterna” seems closer to a hymn of the day, inspired by the scriptures proclaimed at this eucharist in the Sarum Rite: Romans 15:4-13 (the same as the present Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) and Luke 21:25-33 (which had appeared as the gospel for the First Sunday of Advent in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). For example, stanza one emphasizes the unity of those worshiping the Creator God; in a passage from the epistle, Paul prays that the Church may “with one mind and with one mouth glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (ut unamines, uno ore honorificetis Deum and Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi). The central stanzas of the sequence highlight the divine judgment at the end of time which is also the theme of the Gospel reading. Both the central stanzas of the sequence and the gospel note that when the “Son of Man comes in a cloud with power and great glory” his judgment may be terror-inducing for many, but a source of confidence for those assured of God’s mercy. Finally, there may be an echo of the request in the final stanzas of the sequence for believers to live in peace from the concluding passage of the epistle “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Deus autem spei repleat vos omni gaudio, et pace in credendo: ut abundetis in spe, et virtute Spiritus Sancti).

One comment

  1. For “concio” see perhaps “concieo” and for “concrepa” see “concrepo”.
    When it comes to Latin I use the “Chambers Murray Latin-English Dictionary”, recommended by a colleague who is a patristics scholar. You can get second hand copies on Amazon at quite reasonable prices.
    Thank you for your work on the Sarum Advent sequence. As with many of the liturgical texts of that era they are so rich theologically we can learn a lot from them.

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