Gloria, Laus et Honor

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A processional hymn for palm sunday, written in the early ninth century, probably by theodulf of orlÉans, a native of Spain. The original text has 39 distichs, of which the first six are now sung at the procession. The first distich serves as a refrain after each verse. According to legend (recorded by Hugh of Fleury; Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 9:36364), Theodulf wrote this hymn while a prisoner at Angers. When the Palm Sunday procession, in which Emperor Louis the Pious took part, halted beneath the tower where Theodulf was kept, Louis heard Theodulf singing his hymn. The Emperor was moved and pardoned him. Raby regards the story as a "testimony to the popularity of this magnificent hymn, the crown of Theodulf's poetry." The text has Biblical background (Mt 21.13, 811) and Christ's reception into Jerusalem is interpreted in a mysticalallegorical sense (see the last distich of the original poem). The quantitative distichs display the influence not only of the classical tradition on Carolingian poetry, but also of the Resurrection poem Tempore florigero (Salve festa dies ) of Venantius fortunatus, the chief model for later processional hymns down to the close of the Middle Ages.

Bibliography: Analecta hymnica 50:160163. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Poetae 1:558559. j. connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (Westminster MD 1957) 8486. f. j. e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford 1953) 174176. j. gaillard, Catholicisme 5:5859. f. brunhÖlzl, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 4:967. j. szÖvÉrffy, Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung (Berlin 196465) 1:202204.

[j. szÖvÉrffy]