CIRCUMCISION of OUR LORD
, explained in the Golden Legend
of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.
Sequence by Adam of St. Victor
: Hac die festa concinat multimoda camena,
Collaudans celi Dominum cum dulci cantilena.
Per hec enim solempnia sunt cuncta renovata,
Humano quoque generi est venia donata.
Invenit drachma mulier; accenditur lucerna,
In carne dum comparuit mens Deo coeterna.
Dum cadit secus Jericho vir Hierosolomita,
Samaritanus affuit quo lapso datur vita.
Perduxit hunc in stabulum clementia divina,
Vinum permiscens oleo suavi medicina.
Curantis egri vulnera sunt dulcia fomenta,
Dum cunctis penitentia fuit reis inventa.
Bini dati denarii sunt duo Testamenta
Dum Christus, finis utriusque, complet sacramenta.
En tellus rore germinat nec patet madefacta,
Dum virgo Deum partuit, et mater est intacta.
In tenebris exortus est Puer, lux sempiterna:
Octava circumcisus est hac die hodierna.
Hec ab antiquis patribus dies fuit previsa
Dum se prolemque Domino dant carne circumcisa.
Hac die circumcisio fiebat sub figura
Octavo, qua salvabitur humana creatura.
Ergo nos circumcidamus, non carnis preputia,
Sed a nobis abscidamus sordes et vitia.
Ut mundati mente, carne, capiamus premia,
Que octava confert etas merenti celestia.
Eya, die ista,
Cantor et psalmista
Cum cytharista. Amen.
Englished by Digby S. Wrangham
: This festal day our Muse should be a varied song upraising,
In strains of sweetest melody the Lord of heaven praising.
For all things by this festival have been renewed from heaven,
And pardon to the human race for all their misdeeds given.
The woman finds her silver piece; her candle she hath lighted,
What time to flesh the mind, with God co-equal, is united.
When from Jerusalem the man nigh Jericho is lying,
The good Samaritan comes by and rescues him from dying.
By clemency divine he is into the inn attended,
Whilst wine and oil, as remedy to soothe his pain, are blended.
Sweet are the balms of Him, who gives to sick men's wounds their healing,
The way of penitence for all their sinfulness revealing.
Of the two Testaments the gift of the two pennies telleth,
Since Jesus Christ, the end of both, their mysteries fulfilleth.
Lo! now the earth buds forth with dew and yet abideth rainless,
Whilst bears a maid our God Himself, and is a mother stainless.
In darkness was the Infant born, Who light eternal giveth;
And circumcision on this day, the eight day, He receiveth.
This day the Patriarchs of old foresaw in clear pre-vision,
Who gave themselves and progeny to God by circumcision.
That circumcision was performed this eighth day in a figure,
Which shall a human creature save from God's most righteous rigour.
Ourselves, and not our foreskins, then let us be circumcising,
And cut away the lust and sin for aye within us rising.
That, cleansed in heart and flesh, to us those prizes may be given,
Which the eighth age confers on him deserving joy in heaven.
Come ye then to-day here,
Every organ player,
Singer and psalm-sayer!
Lift your praise,
Minstrel! your lay here! Amen.