One of our readers wrote to me this morning from the Iberian peninsula, where St. Augustine has a lasting presence owing to the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross. In Portugal local sanctoral kalendars feast of St. Augustine has a unique sequence after the alleluia and a preface, which are reproduced below in Latin and English. Happy feast!
Sequence (by Adam of St. Victor):
De profundis tenebrarum
Mundo lumen exit clarum
Et scintillat hodie:
Olim quidem vas erroris,
Augustinus vas honoris
Datus est Ecclesiae.
Verbo Dei dum obedit,
Credit errans et accedit
Ad baptismi gratiam;
Quam in primis tuebatur,
Verbis, scriptis exsecratur
Firmans fidem, formans mores,
Legis sacre perversores
Verbi necat gladio;
Cedunt Manes et Donatus
Tante lucis radio.
Mundus marcens et inanis,
Et doctrinis doctus vanis
Per pestem hereticam,
Multum cepit fructum ferre,
Dum in fines orbis terre
Fidem sparsit unicam.
Clericalis vite formam
Conquadravit juxta normam
Sui quippe nil habebant;
Tanquam suum dividebant
In commune clerici.
Sic multorum pro salute
Diu vivens in virtute
Bona tandem senectute
Dormivit cum patribus.
In extremis nil legavit
Qui suum nil estimavit,
Immo totum reputavit
Commune cum fratribus.
Salve, gemma confessorum,
Lingua Christi, vox celorum,
Tuba vite, lux doctorum,
Qui te patrem venerantur,
Te doctorem, consequantur
Vitam in qua gloriantur
Beatorum anime. Amen.
English (Digby S. Wrangham):
From the depths of dark obscurest
Comes forth light, which shines, the purest,
On the earth to-day from heaven:
Once a vessel, truth mistrusting,
Now for honour made, Augustine
To the Church of God was given.
He, the Word of God obeying,
Now believes, once from it straying,
And for grace to baptism comes:
He those errors, once commended,
And in youth with words defended,
Reprobates in written tomes.
Faith confirming, precepts framing,
Those, against Christ's law declaiming,
Slays he with the Word's sharp sword:
Fortunatus' utterance faileth.
Manes with Donatus quaileth,
'Neath such radiant light outpoured.
Earth, made void and fast expiring,
But vain doctrines' lore acquiring,
Through the pest of heresy,
To produce much fruit commences,
As the one Faith he dispenses
To its furthest boundary.
Rules he made for priestly living;
As their pattern, to them giving
The Apostles' company:
Nought their own these priests computed,
But whate'er seemed theirs devoted
To the whole community.
Thus, for many's welfare striving,
Many years in virtue living.
At a good old age arriving,
With his sires he slept at last.
No bequests he left, when dying,
Who, its ownership denying,
Thought his wealth should be supplying
All with whom his lot was cast.
Hail, Confessors' gem bright burning!
Tongue of Christ! heaven's voice of warning!
Trump of life and light of learning!
Prelate high amongst the blest!
May those, Father! who revere thee,
'Neath thy guidance that life near thee
Gain, where joys the truest cheer thee
In the Saints' all-glorious rest! Amen.
Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus. Quia vas electionis tuæ, et lux doctorum, mellifluus Augustinus, toto terrarum orbe radio miræ claritatis infulsit; et Ecclesiam sanctam Fidei orthodoxæ, vere Augustinus illustravit: destruxit hæreses, errores repulit: hæreticosque prostravit: ac status fidelium universæ christianæ vitæ Augustinus moribus decoravit: clericos docuit: laicos monuit, devios in viam veritatis reduxit: cunctorumque conditionibus salubriter providendo, tuam in hoc mari naviculam Augustinus provide gubernavit. Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis, cum thronis et dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:
It is truly meet and just, right and wholesome, for us at all times and in all places to give thanks unto thee, Lord, holy Father, almighty everlasting God. For the vessel of thy election, and the light of doctors, the honey-tongued Augustine, shone upon the whole world by reason of the ray of his wonderful glory: and truly did Augustine enlighten the holy Church of the orthodox Faith: destroy heresies, drive away errors: put heretics to flight: and the manner of the whole Christian life of the faithful did Augustine adorn by his example: he taught clerks: he admonished laymen: he brought back wanderers to the way of truth: and by providing in wholesome wise for the necessities of all men, did Augustine carefully pilot thy ship in this [life's] sea. And therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominations, and with every company of the heavenly host, we sing the hymn of thy glory, saying without ceasing: