Sunday, 1 March 2009

Salve Regina

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus
exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.


Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

The Salve Regina is the Marian antiphon sung after Compline from Trinity Sunday to the Saturday before Advent and, in the vernacular, the final prayer of the Rosary. Recently, I've started saying it last thing before going to bed, which is possibly unseasonal, but feels appropriate, and, of course, actually using it helps with learning it.

Its origins are rather confused being attributed to many including St Bernard of Clairvaux, St Anselm of Lucca, Petrus of Monsoro, Bishop of Compostella, Adhémar, Bishop of Podium, and Hermann Contractus. The Catholic Encyclopedia weighs up the various claims to authorship here. However it is agreed that its current form appeared at the Abbey of Cluny during the twelfth century.

Until I set my mind to learning both properly, I was always more successful at the Latin than the English because of the lovely plainsong, as given below with subtitles for singing along and nice pictures of mountains and waterfalls.

Or if that's not your style, there's always this version:

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