Iam Christus astra ascenderat

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General information

Office hymn for Matins in the octave of Pentecost, and at First Vespers in the Sarum Rite. The Liber usualis gives a 9 verse version].

There is a paraphrase mass by Palestrina, Missa Jam Christus astra ascenderat, using the mode 1 tune in LU.

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Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Version 1
1. Jam Christus astra ascenderat,
Reversus unde venerat,
Patris fruendum munere
Sanctum daturus Spiritum.

2. Solemnis urgebat dies,
Quo mystico septemplici
Orbis volutus septies
Signat beata tempora.

3. Cum lucis hora tertia
Repente mundus intonat,
Apostolis orantibus
Deumvenire nuntiat.

4. De patris ergo lumine
Decorus ignis almus est,
Qui fida Christi pectore
Calore Verbi compleat.

5. Impleta gaudent viscera,
Afflata Sancto Spiritu,
Vocesque diversas sonant,
Fantur Dei magnalia.

6. Notique cunctis gentibus,
Graecis, Latinis, Barbaris,
Simulque demirantibus,
Linguis loquuntur omnium.

7. Judaea tunc incredula,
Vesana torvo spiritu,
Madere musto sobrios
Christi fideles increpat.

8. Sed editis miraculis
Occurrit et docet Petrus,
Falsum profari perfidos,
Joele teste comprobans.

9. Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito.
In saeculorum saecula.

English.png English translation

Version 1
1. Now Christ, ascending whence He came,
Had mounted o'er the starry frame,
The Holy Ghost on man below,
The Father's promise, to bestow.

2. The solemn time was drawing nigh,
Replete with heav'nly mystery,
On seven days' sevenfold circles borne,
That first and blessed Whitsunmorn.

3. When the third hour shone all around,
There came a rushing mighty sound,
And told the Apostles, while in prayer,
That, as was promised, God was there.

4. Forth from the Father's light it came,
That beautiful and kindly flame:
To fill with fervor of His word
The spirits faithful to their Lord.

5. With joy the Apostles' breasts are fired,
By God the Holy Ghost inspired:
And straight, in divers kinds of speech,
The wondrous works of God they preach.

6. To men of every race they speak,
Alike Barbarian, Roman, Greek:
From the same lips, with awe and fear,
All men their native accents hear.

7. But Juda's sons, e'en faithless yet,
With mad infuriate rage beset,
To mock Christ's followers com-
As drunken all with new-made wine.

8. When lo! with signs and mighty deeds,
Stands Peter in the midst, and pleads;
Confounding their malignant lie
By Joel's ancient prophecy.

9. To God the Father let us sing,
To God the Son, our risen King,
And equally let us adore
The Spirit, God for evermore.
tr. John Mason Neale et al.

Latin.png Latin text

Version 2
1. Iam christus astra ascenderat
Regressus unde venerat
Promissum patris munere
Sanctum daturus spiritum.

2. Solemnis urgebat dies,
Quo mystico septemplici
Orbis volutus septies
Signat beata tempora.

3. Dum hora cunctis tertia
Repente mundus intonat,
Orantibus Apostolis
Deum venisse nuntiat.

4. De Patris ergo lumine
Decorus ignis almus est,
Qui fida Christi pectora
Calore Verbi compleat.

5. Dudum sacrata pectora
Tua replesti gratia:
Dimitte nostra crimina,
Et da quieta tempora.

6. Sit laus Patri cum Filio
Sancto simul Paraclito,
Nobisque mittat Filius
Carisma Sancti Spiritus. Amen.

English.png English translation

Version 2
1. Christ had already ascended to heaven,
returning from where he had come,
to bestow, as the Father had promised,
the gift of the Holy Spirit.
 
2. The appointed day was fast approaching,
the mystical seventh day
on which the cycle of the week had come round seven times,
marking a blessed occasion.
 
3. At the third hour in everyone’s hearing
the world suddenly re-echoed with thunder,
announcing to the Apostles as they prayed
that God had come.
 
4. And so from the light of the Father
came forth a fiery heat both beautiful and revitalising,
which filled hearts believing in Christ
with the glowing fervour of the word.
 
5. As then in the past
you filled reverent hearts with your grace,
so now forgive our sins
and grant an age of peace.
 
6. Praise be to the Father and to the Son
and the Holy Spirit,
and may the Son send us
the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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