A solis ortus cardine
From Lands That See the Sun Arise

Written by Coelius Sedulius (d c 450) in iambic dimeter. This hymn, which is used for Lauds during the Christmas season, is the first seven verses of a much longer alphabetic hymn. Four other verses form a second hymn, Hostis Herodes impie which is used for Epiphany.

A SOLIS ortus cardine
adusque terrae limitem
Christum canamus Principem,
natum Maria Virgine.

FROM lands that see the sun arise,
to earth's remotest boundaries,
the Virgin-born today we sing,
the Son of Mary, Christ the King.


Beatus auctor saeculi
servile corpus induit,
ut carne carnem liberans
non perderet quod condidit.


Blest Author of this earthly frame,
to take a servant's form he came,
that liberating flesh by flesh,
whom he had made might live afresh.


Castae parentis viscera
caelestis intrat gratia;
venter puellae baiulat
secreta quae non noverat.


In that chaste parent's holy womb,
celestial grace hath found its home:
and she, as earthly bride unknown,
yet call that Offspring blest her own.


Domus pudici pectoris
templum repente fit Dei;
intacta nesciens virum
Concepit alvo Filium.


The mansion of the modest breast
becomes a shrine where God shall rest:
the pure and undefiled one
conceived in her womb the Son.


Enititur est puerpera
quem Gabriel praedixerat,
quem ventre Matris gestiens,
baptismata clausum senserat.


That Son, that royal Son she bore,
whom Gabriel's voice had told afore:
whom, in his Mother yet concealed,
the Infant Baptist had revealed.


Feno iacere pertulit,
praesepe non abhorruit,
Et lacte modico pastus est
per quem nec ales esurit.


The manger and the straw he bore,
the cradle did he not abhor:
a little milk his infant fare
who feedeth even each fowl of air.


Gaudet chorus caelestium
et Angeli canunt Deum,
palamque fit pastoribus
Pastor, Creator omnium.


The heavenly chorus filled the sky,
the Angels sang to God on high,
what time to shepherds watching lone
they made creation's Shepherd known.


Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.


All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to the Father and to Paraclete. Amen.


Latin from the Liturgia Horarum. Translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).


©copyright, 1999 by Michael Martin