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Audi Benigne Conditor


A Lenten hymn formerly attributed to Pope Gregory the Great (Migne), but now dated as late as the early ninth century (Szövérffy). It was composed either in Italy (Raby) or in Gaul (Blume) and appears in many tenth century MSS from those areas, as well as in numerous German and English MSS of the following century. The hymn consists of five strophes of octosyllabic iambic dimeter. Half of its 20 lines are rhymed, in the unschematic manner characteristic of pre-Carolingian prosody. The first four strophes each contain a reference to human infirmity and a request for divine assistance; the fifth concludes this simple theme with a prayer that the Trinity will make our fasting fruitful. Assigned in the Roman Breviary of 1632 to Vespers between the Saturday after Ash Wednesday and Passiontide, it had been sung also at Lauds in many places before the Reformation. Its English translators include W. Drummond ("O merciful Creator!, hear our prayer," 1619), J. M. Neale ("O Maker of the world, give ear," 1852), and E. Caswall ("Thou loving Maker of mankind," Lyra Catholica, 1849).

Bibliography: Analecta Hymnica (Leipzig 18661922) 51:5355. Patrologia Latina 78:849850. a. s. walpole, ed., Early Latin Hymns (Cambridge, Eng. 1922) 320321. m. britt, ed., The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (new ed. New York 1948). j. connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (Westminster MD 1957). f. j. e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford 1953) 124. j. julian, ed., A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York 1957) 91.

[j. du q. adams]

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