A Conversation with Angels

translations by Kate Brown of selected songs by Hildegard of Bingen
if you wish to use these in any published form, please let me know.

De Sancta Maria [Sequence]

O viridissima virga

O viridissima virga, ave,
quae in ventoso flabro sciscitationis
sanctorum prodisti.

Cum venit tempus,
quod tu floruisti in ramis tuis,
ave, ave sit tibi,
quia calor solis in te sudavit
sicut odor balsami.

Nam in te floruit pulcher flos,
qui odorem dedit omnibus aromatibus,
quae arida erant.

Et illa apparuerunt omnia
in viriditate plena.

Unde caeli dederunt rorem super gramen,
et omnis terra laeta facta est,
quoniam viscera ipsius frumentum protulerunt,
et quoniam volucres caeli nidos
in ipsa habuerunt.

Deinde facta est esca hominibus
et gaudium magnum epulantium.
Unde, o suavis Virgo,
in te non deficit ullum gaudium.

Haec omnia Eva contempsit.
Nunc autem laus sit Altissimo.


O greenest branch, I greet you,
you who budded in the winds of the
questioning of the saints.

The time came
for you to blossom in your branches,
I salute you!
The sun's heat distilled in you
the fragrance of balsam.

For in you bloomed the beautiful flower
which gave fragrance to all the spices,
which were dried out.

And they all burgeoned
in their strength and greenness.

And because of this, the heavens dropped their dew upon the grass,
And all the earth was made glad,
for her womb brought forth wheat,
and the birds of heaven made their nests
in her.

From this, humankind is nourished,
which brings great joy to the feasters.
And hence, o sweet virgin,
in you no joy is lacking.

All of this, Eve rejected.
Indeed, let us praise the Most High.

back to table of contents

De Virginibus [Antiphon]

O pulchrae facies

O pulchrae facies,
Deum aspicientes et in aurora aedificantes,
o beatae virgines, quam nobiles estis.
In quibus Rex se consideravit,
cum in vobis omnia caelestia ornamenta praesignavit,
ubi etiam suavissimus hortus estis,
in omnibus ornamentis redolentes.

O beautiful faces
you who behold God and build in the dawn,
o blessed virgins, how noble you are.
The King has contemplated himself in you,
has foreshadowed all heavenly beauty in you,
and because of this, you are in yourselves the most delicious garden,
sweet-scented in all your beauty.
back to table of contents

De Sancta Maria [Sequence]

O virga ac diadema purpura Regis

O virga ac diadema purpurae Regis
quae est in clausura tua sicut lorica.

Tu frondens floruisti in alia vicissitudine,
quam Adam omne genus humanum produceret.

Ave, ave, de tuo ventre alia vita processit,
qua Adam filios suos denudaverit.

O flos, tu non germinasti de rore,
nec de guttis pluviae, nec aer desuper te volavit,
sed divina claritas in nobilissima virga
te produxit.

O virga, floriditatem tuam
Deus in prima die creaturae suae praeviderat.

Et de Verbo suo auream materiam,
O laudabilis Virgo, fecit.

O quam magnum est in viribus suis latus viri,
de quo Deus formam mulieris produxit,
quam fecit speculum omnis ornamenti sui
et amplexionem omnis creaturae suae.

Inde concinunt caelestia organa,
et miratur omnis terra, o laudabilis Maria,
quia Deus te valde amavit.

O quam valde plangendum et lugendum est,
quod tristitia in crimine per consilium serpentis
in mulierem fluxit.

Nam ipsa mulier, quam Deus matrem omnium posuit,
viscera sua cum vulneribus ignorantiae decerpsit
et plenum dolorem generi suo protulit.

Sed, o aurora, de ventre tuo
novus sol processit,
qui omnia crimina Evae abstersit
et maiorem benedictionem per te protulit,
quam Eva hominibus nocuisset.

Unde, o Salvatrix, quae novum lumen
humano generi protulisti,
collige membra Filii tui
ad caelestem harmoniam.
Green branch and imperial diadem,
in your virginity enclosed as in shining armour,

You branched, blossoming, in a fashion changed
from that by which Adam produced the whole human race.

All hail, from your womb came forth another life
which Adam had stripped from his sons.

O flower, it was not the dew that made you bud,
nor drops of rain, nor did the wind waft over you,
but the divine radiance brought you forth
from the most noble branch.

O branch, God foresaw your flowering
on the first day of creation.

And he made you, o virgin most worthy of praise,
as a golden matrix for his Word

O how great in its strength is the side of Man
from which God brought forth Woman,
whom he made the the mirror of all his beauty
and the embrace of all his creation.

And so all heaven's instruments make music together,
and all the earth admires you, Mary most worthy of praise,
whom God has loved so deeply.

A very great cause it was for lamenting and mourning,
That through the counsel of the serpent, sorrow and guilt
flowed into woman.

For that woman, whom God had set to be the mother of us all,
she destroyed her own womb with the wounds of ignorance
and gave birth to all pain for her children.

But, o dawn, from your womb
a new Sun rises,
which has cleansed all Eve's sins,
and through you a blessing flows
greater than the harm Eve did to men.

And thus you have saved us, you who bore the New Light
for humankind.
Gather then the members of your Son
into celestial harmony.
back to table of contents

O Virtus Sapientiae [Antiphon]

O virtus Sapientiae,
quae circuens circuisti
comprehendendo omnia
in una via quae habet vitam,
tres alas habens,
quarum una in altum volat,
et altera de terra sudat,
et tertia undique volat.
Laus tibi sit, sicut te decet,
o Sapientia.

O strength of Wisdom
who, circling, circled,
enclosing all
in one lifegiving path,
three wings you have:
one soars to the heights,
one distils its essence upon the earth,
and the third is everywhere.
Praise to you, as is fitting,
o Wisdom.
back to table of contents

In dedicatione Ecclesiae [Antiphon]

O choruscans stellarum

O choruscans lux stellarum
o splendidissima specialis forma regalium nuptiarum,
o fulgens gemma,
tu es ornata in alta persona,
quae non habet maculatam rugam.
Tu es etiam socia Angelorum
et civis sanctorum.
Fuge, fuge speluncam antiqui perditoris,
et veniens veni in palatium Regis.

O flashing, trembling light of all the stars,
o splendid, chosen, emblem of a royal bride,
o radiant jewel,
you are adorned as that high personage
who has no stain or blemish.
You are the companion of angels
and a citizen of the holy places.
Flee, flee the cave of the ancient destroyer,
and come, o come into the palace of the King
back to table of contents

De Sancta Maria [Responsorium]

O clarissima Mater

O clarissima mater sanctae medicinae,
tu unguenta per sanctum Filium tuum
infudisti in plangentia vulnera mortis,
quae Eva aedificavit in tormenta animarum.
Tu destruxisti mortem
aedificando vitam.

Ora pro nobis ad tuum Natum
stella maris, Maria.

O vivificum instrumentum et laetum ornamentum
et dulcedo omnium deliciarum, quae in te non deficient.

Ora pro nobis ad tuum Natum
stella maris, Maria.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

Ora pro nobis ad tuum Natum
stella maris, Maria.
O radiant Mother of sacred healing!
through your holy Son you poured ointment
in the weeping wounds of death,
which Eve had wrought, to the torment of souls.
You destroyed death,
making life.

Pray for us to your child,
Mary, star of the sea.

O life giving instrument and ornament of joy,
o sweetness of all delights, in which you shall never fail.

Pray for us to your child,
Mary, star of the sea.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Pray for us to your child,
Mary, star of the sea.
back to table of contents

De Apostolis [Antiphon]

O cohors militiae

O cohors militiae floris virgae non spinatae,
tu sonus orbis terrae, circuiens
regiones insanorum sensuum,
epulantium cum porcis,
quos expugnasti per infusum adiutorem,
ponentem radices in tabernacula
pleni operis Verbi Patris.

Tu etiam nobilis es gens Salvatoris,
intrans viam regenerationis aquae
per Agnum, qui te misit in gladio
inter saevissimos canes,
qui suam gloriam destruxerunt
in operibus digitorum suorum,
statuentes non manufactum
in subiectionem manuum suarum,
in qua non invenerunt eum.

O company of the army of the flower of the thornless branch
your song fills the globe,
circling through regions
where the senses have gone mad and are feasting with swine.
These you have conquered by the influence of the helping Spirit,
striking root in the innermost chamber
of the perfected work of the Father's Word.

You belong to the Saviour's noble kindred,
entering through water the way of regeneration,
through the Lamb, who has sent you with a sword
among very savage dogs,
who destroyed their own glory
with the deeds of their own hands,
thus putting that which was not made by human hands
under the subjection of mere human hands -
in which they do not find God.
back to table of contents

De undecim milibus Virginibus [Responsorium]

Favus distillans

Favus distillans
Ursula virgo fuit,
quae Agnum Dei amplecti desideravit.
Mel et lac sub lingua eius,
Quia pomiferum hortum et flores florum
in turba virginum
ad se collegit.

Unde in nobilissima aurora gaude,
Filia Sion.

Quia pomiferum hortum et flores florum
in turba virginum
ad se collegit.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiiritui Sancto.

Quia pomiferum hortum et flores florum
in turba virginum
ad se collegit.

A dripping honeycomb
was Ursula the virgin
who desired to embrace the Lamb of God,
Milk and honey beneath her tongue.
For an orchard of fruit trees and a garden of flowers
a whirlpool of virgins
she gathered to her.

Therefore rejoice in the noble dawn,
o daughter of Sion.

For an orchard of fruit trees and a garden of flowers
a whirlpool of virgins
she gathered to her.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

For an orchard of fruit trees and a garden of flowers
a whirlpool of virgins
she gathered to her.
back to table of contents

De undecim milibus Virginibus [Responsorium]

O rubor sanguinis

O rubor sanguinis
qui de excelso illo fluxisti,
quod Divinitas tetigit,
tu flos es,
quens hiems de flatu serpentis
nunquam laesit.

O redness of blood
flowing from those heights
touched by divinity,
you are a flower
that the icy breath of the serpent
never harmed.

back to table of contents

De Sancto Ruperto

O Ierusalem

O Ierusalem, aurea civitas,
ornata Regis purpura.

O aedificatio summae bonitatis,
quae es lux numquam obscurata.
Tu enim es ornata in aurora
et in calore solis.

O beata pueritia, quae rutilas in aurora,
et o laudabilis adolescentia, quae ardes in sole.

Nam tu, o nobilis Ruperte,
in his sicut gemma fulsisti,
unde non potes abscondi
stultis hominibus
sicut nec mons valli celatur.

Fenestrae tuae, Ierusalem,
cum topazio et saphiro
specialiter sunt decoratae.

In quibus dum fulges, o Ruperte,
non potes abscondi tepidus moribus,
sicut nec mons valli,
coronatus rosis, liliis et purpura
in vera ostensione.

O tener flos campi,
et o dulcis viriditas pomi,
et o sarcina sine medulla,
quae non flectit pectora in crimina.

O vas nobile,
quod non est pollutum nec devoratum
in saltatione antiquae speluncae,
et quod non est maceratum
in vulneribus antiiqui perditoris.

In te symphonizat Spiritus Sanctus,
quia angelicis choris associaris,
et quoniam in Filio Dei ornaris,
cum nullam maculam habes.

Quod vas decorum tu es, o Ruperte,
qui in pueritia et in adolescentia tua ad Deum anhelasti
in timore Dei et in amplexione caritatis
et in suavissimo odore bonorum operum.

O Ierusalem, fundamentum tuum positum est
cum torrentibus lapidibus,
quodest cum publicans et peccatoribus,
qui perditae oves erant, sed per Filium Dei inventae
ad te cucurrerunt et in te positi sunt.

Deinde muri tui fulminant vivis lapidus,
qui per summum studium bonae voluntatis
quasi nubes in caelo volaverunt.

Et ita turres tuae, o Ierusalem,
rutilant et candent
per ruborem et per candorem sanctorum
et per omnia ornamenta Dei,
quae tibi non desunt, o Ierusalem.

Unde vos, o ornati et o coronati,
qui habitatis in Ierusalem,
et o tu, Ruperte, qui es socius eorum in hac habitatione,
succurite nobis famulantibus
et in exilio laborantibus.

O Jerusalem the golden city,
adorned in the King's purple

O building of the greatest good,
a never-darkened light,
Adorned with the dawn
and with the full sun.

O blessed childhood, glowing in the dawn,
and o praiseworthy adolescence, burning in the sun.

For you, noble Rupert,
sparkled in these like a jewel,
hence you cannot be hidden
from foolish men
just as a mountain cannot be hidden from the valley.

Your windows, Jerusalem
are ornamented with topaz and sapphire
in a very particular fashion.

In these you shine, o Rupert,
you cannot be hidden from those of tepid morals,
just as the mountain
crowned with roses, lilies, purple, in a true showing,
cannot be hidden from the valley.

O delicate flower of the field,
and o sweet green strength of the fruit,
a burden without weight,
which does not bow the breast in guilt.

O noble vessel,
neither polluted nor devoured
by the dance in the ancient cave,
nor sapped
by the wounds of the ancient destroyer.

In you the Holy Spirit makes music,
the angelic choruses welcome you,
and you are adorned in the Son of God
and have no stain.

A beautiful vessel you are, o Rupert,
you who in childhood and youth sighed for God
in the fear of God and in the embrace of Love
and in the sweetest fragrance of good works.

O Jerusalem, your foundation is laid
on burning stones,
that is, with publicans and sinners
who were lost sheep, but were found by God's Son,
they ran to you and were placed in you.

Therefore your walls glitter with living stones,
which, through a supreme endeavour of good will,
like clouds ascended into heaven.

And likewise your towers, o Jerusalem,
flushing with the redness, dazzling
with the whiteness of the saints
and with all the jewels of God,
which are not wanting, o Jerusalem.

Therefore, o adorned, crowned ones,
inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and o Rupert, you who are their companion in this dwelling,
help us, who serve
and labour in exile.

back to table of contents

De Virginibus [Responsorium]

O nobilissima viriditas

O nobilissima viriditas,
quae radicas in sole,
et quae in candida serenitate luces
in rota,
quam nulla terrena excellentia
tu circumdata es
amplexibus divinorum mysteriorum.

Tu rubes ut aurora,
et ardes ut solis flamma.

O most noble greening power,
rooted in the sun,
shining in dazzling serenity
in a sphere
that no earthly excellence
can comprehend.
You are enclosed
in the embrace of divine mysteries.

You blush like the dawn,
and burn like a flame of the sun.

back to table of contents

delft games