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III. Sequentiæ de Tempore, Argentinæ, 1516, p. 2; Clichtoveus, Elucidat. Eccles., Paris, 1556, p. 213; (not in the earlier editions ;) Rambach, Anthol. Christl. Gesänge, Altona u. Leipzig, 1817, p. 340; Daniel, Thes. Hymn., v. 2, p. 166.-- This sublime hymn, although not the composition of Adam of St Victor, evidently proceeds from one formed in his school, and on his model, and is altogether worthy of him. Daniel ascribes it to the thirteenth or fourteenth century, but has nothing distinct to say about its authorship.
4. Cf. 1 Joh. i, l.
13. Cælum transit] Ambrose (Prol. in Exp. in Luc., c. 3): Nemo enim, audeo dicere, tantâ sublimitate sapientiæ majestatem Dei vidit, et nobis proprio sermone reseravit. Transcendit nubes,
Mentis figens aciem.
Audiit in gyro sedis
transcendit virtutes cælorum, transcendit angelos, et Verbum in principio reperit, et Verbum apud Deum vidit.
15. figens aciem] Augustine (In Joh., Tract. 36): Aquila ipse est Johannes, sublimium prædicator, et lucis internæ atque æternæ fixis oculis contemplator. Dicuntur enim et pulli aqui. larum à parentibus sic probari, patris scilicet ungue suspendi, et radiis solis opponi; qui firmè contemplatus fuerit, filius agnoscitur; si acie palpitaverit, tanquam adulterinus ab ungue dimittitur.
17, 18. These verses can only be fully understood by reference to Isai, vi, 2. (Vulg.) where with twain he covered his face," i.e. the seraphim with two wings covered his (own) face, (faciem suam,) is given thus : Duabus velabant faciem ejus, i. e. Domini : with two wings they covered the face of the Lord. And this was referred to the obscure vision of God vouchsafed under the Old Covenant, so that even a prophet did but see ' écontpov, èv alvíyuatı: the wings of the seraphim being as a veil between God and him. Thus H. de S. Victore (De Arca Mor., 1. 1, c. 3): Quod autem in Esaia scriptum est, Velabant faciem ejus, eo modo intelligi debet, quo dictum est ad Moysem : Non poteris videre faciem meam : non enim videbit me homo, et vivet. But St John, the poet would say, looking beneath these covering wings (seraphim sub alis) saw the unveiled glory of God.--A passage in St Bernard, (Opp., v. 1, p.955, Bened. ed.) shews that even in the middle ages they were not unaware that suan would have been the preferable translation.
19-21. Cf. Rev. iv. 4; xiv. 2._22_24.] By the “money of our earthly city'
we must understand the mind of man. Man is God's money, having the image and superscription of the great King. (Gen, i. 27; Matt. xxii. 21 ; Luke xv. 8.) On this money
St John stamped anew clear and distinct impressions (characleres) of the Holy Trinity, bringing down from heaven as he did, and imparting to us, those transcendent truths which he himself had beholden there.
25–30. Olshausen has taken this stanza, than which sacred Latin poetry scarcely possesses, if indeed it possess, a grander, as the motto of his commentary on St John. The implenda are the Apocalypse, the impleta the Gospel.
31–33. Cf. Isai. lxiii. 1, 2.-34, 35. Cf. Ezek. i. 10.
38, 39. So Clichtoveus. Daniel, however, (Thes. Hymn., v. 2, p. 168,) reads :
Qualis sit, et ex dilecto
Sponsi sponsæ nuncia:
and affirms that he has abundant authority for so doing. But, not to say that, so read, the lines yield no tolerable sense, the reading violates the laws of rhyme which the Latin medieval poets observe. They allow themselves, it is true, greater liberties than we do: with us a syllable may not rhyme with itself, even when in the second line it belongs to an entirely different word from that to which it belonged in the first. Thus vine and divine are faulty as rhymes, though many—Spenser in particular—are frequent offenders in this regard. But while the Latin rhyming poets, like the French, permit rhymes such as these, so that a word may even rhyme with itself, if different senses be attached to it, as mundus the world, with mundus clean; yet they would not rhyme mundus to itself, the word in both places signifying the world. And rightly; since such rhymes are indeed no rhymes, contradicting as they do the fundamental idea of rhyme, which is that of likeness with difference difference which should preferably be in the sound, since that is the region in which rhyme moves ; but if not there, at least in the sense. It is true there are exceptions among the Latin rhymers to this rule, but they are so exceedingly rare, and under circumstances which so entirely explain them, (circumstances which do not here occur,) that there is the strongest à priori unlikelihood that a reading is the right one, which would make dilecto rhyme to itself. Moreover the mystics often spoke, and had much to say, of the lectus Domini, the deep rest and joy of perfected souls in innermost communion with their Lord. It is almost needless to say they got the image from the Canticles.
40. Allusion to the Incarnation was often found in the words of the Psalmist, (lxxviii. 25), “ Man did eat angels' food.” The Eternal Word was from the beginning the food of angels, but in the Incarnation became also the food of men. Thus Augustine (In Ep. Joh., Tract. 1.): Erat enim [Vita] ab initio; sed non erat manifestata hominibus; manifestata autem erat angelis videntibus, et tanquam pane suo cibantibus. Sed quid ait Scriptura? Panem angelorum manducavit homo. Ergo manifestata
est ipsa Vita in carne. And Damiani blends in a fine stanza
En illa felix aquila
Et nos in viâ recreat.
Hic, cujus alæ virtutum alæ,
In me Solem gloriæ.