A Poor Brother's Hymnal
Monday, October 08, 2007
  Stabat Mater Speciosa / By the Crib

Stabat Mater speciosa is considered one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time and one of the tenderest. It is based upon the Gospel account of the birth of Jesus. The hymn originated in the 13th century and has been attributed to Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306). There is a mirror image to this hymn, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which echoes the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

STABAT Mater speciosa
iuxta faenum gaudiosa,
dum iacebat parvulus.
BY, the crib wherein reposing,
with His eyes in slumber closing,
lay serene her Infant-boy,
Cuius animam gaudentem
laetabundam et ferventem
pertransivit iubilus.
Stood the beauteous Mother feeling
bliss that could not bear concealing,
so her face o'erflowed with joy.
O quam laeta et beata
fuit illa immaculata,
mater Unigeniti!
Oh, the rapture naught could smother
of that most Immaculate Mother
of the sole-begotten One;
Quae gaudebat et ridebat,
exultabat, cum videbat
nati partum inclyti.
When with laughing heart exulting,
she beheld her hopes resulting
In the great birth of her Son.
Quisquam est, qui non gauderet,
Christi matrem si videret
in tanto solatio?
Who would not with gratulation
see the happy consolation
of Christ's Mother undefiled?
Quis non posset collaetari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
ludentem cum Filio?
Who would not be glad surveying
Christ's dear Mother bending, praying,
playing with her heavenly Child
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Christum vidit cum iumentis
et algori subditum.
For a sinful world's salvation,
Christ her Son's humiliation
She beheld and brooded o'er;
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
vagientem, adoratum,
vili deversorio.
Saw Him weak, a child, a stranger,
yet before Him in the manger
kings lie prostrate and adore.
Nato, Christo in praesepe
caeli cives canunt laete
cum immenso gaudio.
O'er that lowly manger winging,
joyful hosts from heaven were singing
canticles of holy praise;
Stabat, senex cum puella
non cum verbo nec loquela
stupescentes cordibus.
While the old man and the maiden,
speaking naught, with hearts o'erladen,
pondered on God's wondrous ways.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim ardoris
fac, ut tecum sentiam.
Fount of love, forever flowing,
with a burning ardor glowing,
make me, Mother, feel like thee;
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amatum Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Let my heart, with graces gifted
all on fire, to Christ be lifted,
and by Him accepted be.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
prone introducas plagas
cordi fixas valide.
Holy Mother, deign to bless me,
with His sacred Wounds impress me,
let them in my heart abide;
Tui Nati caelo lapsi,
iam dignati faeno nasci,
poenas mecum divide.
Since He came, thy Son, the Holy,
to a birth-place, ah, so lowly,
all His pains with me divide.
Fac me vere congaudere,
Iesulino cohaerere,
donec ego vixero.
Make me with true joy delighted,
to Child-Jesus be united
while my days of life endure;
In me sistat ardor tui,
puerino fac me frui
dum sum in exilio.
While an exile here sojourning,
make my heart like thine be burning
with a love divine and pure.

Spotless Maid and sinless Woman,
make us feel a fire in common,
make my heart's long longing sure.
Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me parvum rapere.
Virgin of all virgins highest,
prayer to thee thou ne'er denyest,
let me bear thy sweet Child too.
Fac, ut pulchrum infantem portem,
qui nascendo vicit mortem,
volens vitam tradere.
Let me bear Him in my bosom,
Lord of life, and never lose Him,
since His birth doth death subdue.
Fac me tecum satiari,
Nato me inebriari,
stantem in tripudio.
Let me show forth how immense is
the effect on all my senses
of an union so divine.

All who in the crib revere Him,
like the shepherds watching near Him,
will attend Him through the night,
Inflammatus et accensus,
obstupescit omnis sensus
tali me commercio.
By thy powerful prayers protected,
grant, O Queen, that His elected
may behold heaven's moving light.
Fac, me Nato custodiri,
verbo Dei praemuniri
conservari gratia.
Make me by His birth be guarded,
by God's holy word be warded,
by His grace till all is done;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
tui nati gloria. Amen.
When my body lies obstructed,
make my soul to be conducted,
to the vision of thy Son. Amen.

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