Its significance, explained in the Golden Legend of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.
Sequence by Adam of St. Victor:
Supernae matris gaudia
Dum festa colit annua,
Suspirat ad perpetua.
In hac valle miseriae
Mater succurrat filiae;
Hic coelestes excubiae
Nobiscum stent in acie.
Mundus, caro, daemonia
Diversa movent praelia:
Incursu tot phantasmatum
Turbatur cordis sabbatum.
Dies festos cognatio
Simul haec habet odio
Certatque pari foedere
Pacem de terra toUere.
Confusa sunt hic omnia,
Spes, metus, moeror, gaudium:
Vix hora vel dimidia
Fit in coelo silentium.
Quam felix illa civitas
In qua jugis solemnitas!
Et quam jocunda curia,
Quae curae prorsus nescia!
Nec languor hic, nec senium,
Nec fraus, nec terror hostium,
Sed una vox laetantium,
Et unus ardor cordium.
Illic cives angelici
Sub hierarchia triplici
Trinae gaudent et simplici
Se Monarchiae subjici.
Mirantur, nec deficiunt,
In ilium quem prospiciunt;
Fruuntur, nec fastidiunt,
Quo frui magis sitiunt.
Illic patres dispositi
Pro qualitate meriti,
Semota jam caligine,
Lumen vident in lumine.
Hi sancti quorum hodie
Nunc, revelata facie,
Regem cernunt in gloria.
Illic regina virginum,
Transcendens culmen ordinum,
Excuset apud Dominum
Nostrorum lapsus criminum.
Nos ad sanctorum gloriam,
Per ipsorum suffragia,
Post praesentem miseriam
Christi perducat gratia! Amen.
Which heavenly Mother-Church displays;
Keeping her annual holydays,
For endless ones she sighs and prays.
In this dark vale of woe to-day,
That Mother must her daughter stay;
Here Angel-guardians' bright array
Must stand beside us in the fray.
The world, the flesh, the devil's spite
By different methods wars excite:
Such countless phantoms' rush destroys
The sabbath that the heart enjoys.
This evil kindred hate displays
Alike against all holydays,
As, one and all, they fight and strive
Peace from the face of earth to drive.
Things strangely mingle here below,
Hope, terror, happiness, and pain;
While scarce for half an hour, we know,
Is silence kept in heaven's domain.
How blest that city is, wherein
Unceasing feast-days still begin!
How happy that assembly, where
Is utter ignorance of care!
Nor languor here, nor age, they know,
Nor fraud, nor terror of a foe:
But with one voice their joy they show;
One ardour makes all hearts to glow.
The angel-citizens on high
There, 'neath a triple hierarchy,
The Trinity in Unity
Serve and obey rejoicingly.
With wonder, - never giving o'er ! -
They, seeing Him whom they adore,
Enjoy what, craving as before,
They thirst but to enjoy the more.
There all the Fathers stand around,
Ranking as worthy they are found;
The darkness now removed of night,
In light they look upon the light.
These Saints, whose feast to-day we grace
With solemn service as of old,
The King, unveiled and face to face,
In all His glory now behold.
There may the virgins' queen, in light
Transcending far heaven's orders bright,
Plead our excuses in God's sight
For all our failures to do right.
When this life's troubles all are past,
Through prayer by them to God addressed.
May Christ's grace bring us at the last
To where the Saints in glory rest ! Amen.