Elpis, Poet and Mother of the Church

Apparently, the poet Boethius’ wife was also a poet. Her name was Elpis, and she wrote the original version of one of the breviary hymns for today (Ss. Peter and Paul, who were brutally executed on this day in history). Check it out!

Aurea luce et decore roseo,
lux lucis, omne perfudisti
saeculum, decorans caelos
inclito martyrio hac sacra die,
quae dat reis veniam.

Golden daylight, rosy, bright and lovely,
Light of lights that pours through all the world,
Decking the heavens for this holy day
of famous martyrs, which He gives
as a thing of favor.

Ianitor caeli, doctor orbis
pariter, iudices saecli, vera
mundi lumina, per crucem
alter, alter ense triumphans,
vitae senatum laureati possident.

Gatekeeper of heaven, teacher of the globe —
together, ages’ judges, (and) true lights of the world;
one through the cross, the other through the sword,
both triumphing — in Life’s senate,
they sit laurel-crowned.

O Roma felix, quae tantorum principum
es purpurata pretioso sanguine, non laude
tua, sed ipsorum meritis
excellis omnem mundi

O lucky Rome that’s dyed in purple
with two such leaders’ precious blood —
not for your praise, but through their deserts,
you excel all of the world
in excellence and beauty.

Olivae binae pietatis unicae,
fide devotos, spe robustos
maxime, fonte repletos
caritatis geminae post mortem
carnis impetrate vivere.

Two olive trees unique in piety,
devoted faith, the strongest hope —
twin fountains filled up brimful with love —
when flesh is dead, God grants your prayers
and makes you live.

Sit Trinitati sempiterna gloria,
honor, potestas atque iubilatio,
in unitate, cui manet imperium
ex tunc et modo per aeterna
saecula. Amen.

Endless glory be unto the Trinity,
honor, power, joy to God in unity,
who holds in His hand imperial command
both then and now and evermore
through eternal centuries. Amen.

The translation’s my own, and I was trying to make it semi-singable. (I thought up a little tune.)

UPDATE: Actually, the Gregorian chant tune is pretty easy to come by. It turned out I actually had a copy sitting around. Also, it turns out that many scholars seriously doubt that Elpis was the author, but apparently part of the poem is on her tomb or whatever, so authorship attached to her. Shrug. If they don’t know who wrote it, I’d think Elpis is as good a name for the author as Anon.



Filed under Church, History, Translations

3 responses to “Elpis, Poet and Mother of the Church

  1. Pingback: “Aurea Luce et Decore Roseo” from Rome « Aliens in This World

  2. I love the idea of Peter as Janitor of heaven. My grandfather ended his years as a school janitor. Now I know his was a Petrine ministry.

  3. Pingback: Ancient Hymns for St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day | Aliens in This World

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