|(Rogier van der Weyden)|
[Some selections from Vespers on the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.]
Capitulum Responsory Hymnus Versus
Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name. [v. 2: And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword: in the shadow of his hand he hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow: in his quiver he hath hidden me.]
R. Thanks be to God.
R. Among them that are born of women * there hath not risen a greater
V. Than John the Baptist.
Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
Mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
Solve polluti labii reatum,
Nuntius celso veniens Olympo,
Te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
Nomen, et vitae seriem gerendae
Ille promissi dubius superni,
Perdidit promptae modulos loquelae:
Sed reformasti genitus peremptae
Ventris obstruso recubans cubili,
Senseras Regem thalamo manentem:
Hinc parens nati meritis uterque
Sit decus Patri, genitaeque Proli,
Et tibi compar utriusque virtus
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
O for thy spirit, holy John, to chasten
Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;
So by thy children might thy deeds of wonder
Meetly be chanted.
Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,
Bears to thy father promise of thy greatness;
How he shall name thee, what thy future story,
Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
Him for season power of speech forsaketh,
Till, at thy wondrous birth, again returneth
Voice to the voiceless.
Thou, in thy mother's womb all darkly cradled,
Knewest thy Monarch, biding in his chamber,
Whence the two parents, through their children's merits,
Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten,
And to the Spirit, equal power possessing,
One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages,
Sts. John, Zachary, and Elizabeth, pray for us!