Victimae Paschali Laudes

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VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES

The sequence that was traditionally used during Easter Week. Its composition is traditionally assigned to wipo (d. after 1046). One of the finest of the transitional Sequences, the Victimae paschali laudes or "Praise to the Paschal Victim bring," is in rhythmical prose of seven strophes; the first stanza is unpaired but the otherstwo and three, four and five, six and sevenform a strophe and antistrophe, with correspondence between the Sequence's literary structure and its music. The first strophe calls on Christians to praise the Paschal Victim. In stanzas two and three, Christ's redemptive work is pictured. The middle section, stanzas four and five, is a lively dialogue in which the faithful question Mary Magdalen, who delivers the message of Christ's triumph. Stanzas six and seven are an act of faith on the part of the Christian community and an address to Christ, now reigning gloriously. The 1570 reform of the Roman Missal dropped stanza six, "Let us believe Mary"; thus stanza seven is now unpaired as is stanza one.

The poem falls into two distinct sections; stanzas one to three are of a lyrical nature showing varied assonances while stanzas four to seven form a dramatic section with dissyllabic rhyme. This has led some scholars to question Wipo's authorship and to ascribe the two sections to different backgrounds and authors. However, Wipo's "Song of Lament for Emperor Conrad II" shows these same characteristics, a fact which strengthens his claim.

Early in the 12th century, the Sequence, incorporated into many versions of the Visitatio sepulchri, played an important part in the foundation of liturgical drama.

Bibliography: j. julian, ed., A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York 1957) 2:122224, for Eng. tr. Die Werke Wipos, ed. h. bresslau, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptore rerum Germanicum 61. Analecta hymnica 54:1213, text. k. young, The Drama of the Medieval Church, 2 v. (Oxford 1933) 1:273288. f.j. e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford 1953) 217219. j. szÖvÉrffy, Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung (Berlin 196465) 1:372374.

[m. i. j. rousseau]