A Hymn to the Motu Proprio

I received this from a priest reader:

Hymn to the Motu
Iam enim hiems transiit;
imber abiit, et recessit.
Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra;
tempus putationis advenit:
vox turturis audita est in terra nostra;
ficus protulit grossos suos;
vineæ florentes dederunt odorem suum.
Vidi speciosam sicut columbam,
ascendentem desuper
rivos aquarum:
cuius inæstimabilis odor
erat nimis in vestimentis eius:
Et sicut dies verni
circumdabant eam
flores rosarum
et lilia convallium.

Would any of you like to work on what the hymn really says?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I canticle all of it to mind, but parts of it sound familiar. :)

  2. Archromanist says:

    Now indeed has winter passed,;
    The rain has gone and departed.
    Flowers have appeared in our land;
    The time of pruning has come:
    The voice of the turtle-dove has been heard in our land;
    The fig tree has brought forth its unripe figs;
    The blooming vineyards have given their scent.

    I have seen one beautiful like a dove,
    Rising from above
    The streams of the waters:
    Whose inestimable scent
    Was exceedingly in her clothes:
    And like the days of spring
    The buds of roses
    And the lilies of the valleys
    Surrounded her.

  3. nhaggin says:

    Well, the first part is the Song of Songs 2:11-13; the second is a responsory text along the same lines:

    I saw the lovely one like a dove
    rising above the streams of water,
    whose surpassing fragrance
    was strong in her garments:
    And as on a spring day
    rose blossoms girded her about,
    and lilies of the valley.

  4. chironomo says:


    As winter has passed,
    The storm recedes, then is gone.
    Flowers appear in our land
    and the time has come for them to be cut:
    The voice of the Dove is heard in our land;
    Fig trees bring forth their unripe fruit;
    The vineyards bloom and bring forth their scent.

    I saw the beautiful one like a dove
    Rising up from above the waters:
    Clothed in that unbelievable scent:
    And like the days of Spring
    was she surrounded by the rose blossoms
    and lilies in the valley.

  5. C. says:

    Not a consistent meter – is this more of a Prosa?

  6. Andrew says:

    I like the translation of “nhaggin” above the best with the exception of “and as on a spring day” which I would change to “and like the days of spring” (chironomo above).

    And here’s a useful link to the motett: http://www.uma.es/victoria/pdf/Vidi_Speciosam.pdf

  7. DavidJ says:

    “What does the hymn really say?” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  8. BobP says:

    Happy third anniversary to the Motu Proprio.

  9. YadaYada says:

    BTW: Pope Clement VIII (re-)promulgating the Missale Romanum — 07-07-1604 — under the ring of the Fisherman.

  10. Who is as lovely as a day in July?
    Thou art more lovely and more septimate….

    Seriously, that is a lovely motet text. Thanks for posting it, Fr. Z.

  11. irishgirl says:

    What a beautiful text-it would be wonderful if someone set it to a chant melody!

    Happy third anniversary to the Motu Proprio….thank you, Holy Father Benedict!

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    I found a chant setting on YouTube, but it’s an awful performance by a well-intentioned guy with a microphone. Unlistenable.

    Polyphonic setting by Francesco Guerrera (16th c. Spanish): Surge propere amica mea

    Spare but beautiful setting by Pablo Casals for organ and SSA: Nigra sum

    A setting of the text in English, by William Billings:

    I Am the Rose of Sharon

    “For lo the winter is past” is the last section. It’s a beautiful marriage of text and tune if you like the New England Singing School tradition.

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