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Hymns sung in Purgatorio

Posted by Remy on December 10, 2009

Purgatorio Canto II:46-79. ‘In exitu Israel de Aegypto’. Dante indicated the meaning of this Psalm 114, when ‘the mountains skipped like rams’ as being ‘the exit of the sanctified soul, from the slavery of this corruption, to the liberty of eternal glory.’

Purgatorio Canto V:1-63. The Miserere is a setting of Psalm 51, a psalm of repentance (‘wash me and I shall be whiter than snow’) beginning: ‘Have mercy upon me, O God,’

Purgatorio Canto VII:64-136. The Salve Regina (Salva Regina, mater misericordiae) is the antiphon sung after Vespers, invoking the aid of the Virgin.

Purgatorio Canto VIII:1-45. Te lucis ante terminum is the Ambrosian hymn sung at Compline, the last office of the day.

Purgatorio Canto IX:106-145. Te Deum Laudamus is the Ambrosian hymn sung at Matins and on solemn occasions. Saint Ambrose (c340-397AD) Bishop of Milan, opposed the Arian heresy, and chose simple metres to create hymns to help the uneducated understand the orthodox faith.

Purgatorio Canto XII:100-136. ‘Beati pauperes spiritu, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven’, the First Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount.

Purgatorio Canto XV:37-81. ‘Beati misericordes, Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy’, the Fifth Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount Matthew v 7. For the words ‘Rejoice you who conquer’ refer to Matthew v 12, Romans xii 21 and Revelation ii 7.

Purgatorio Canto XVI:1-24. The prayer from the Latin Mass, ‘Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis, dona nobis pacem: Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, give us peace.’ See John i 29.

Purgatorio Canto XVII:40-69. The Third Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount Matthew v 5, is spoken, not sung. ‘Beati pacifici: blessed are the meek’ (for they shall inherit the earth.)

Purgatorio Canto XIX:37-69. The Second Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount Matthew v 4, is affirmed by the Angel of Zeal. ‘Beati qui lugent: blessed are they that mourn’ (for they shall be comforted.)

Purgatorio Canto XIX:70-114. Psalm 119 v25. ‘Adhaesit pavimento anima mea, my soul cleaveth unto the dust, quicken thou me according to thy word.’

Purgatorio Canto XX:97-151. ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo, pax hominibus bonae voluntatis: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to all men.’ See Luke ii 8-14.

Purgatorio Canto XXII:1-24. ‘Sitiunt’: in the Fourth Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew v 6,‘Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.’

Purgatorio Canto XXIII:1-36. ‘Labia mea Domine: O Lord open thou my lips (and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise).’ Psalm 51 verse 15. A verse of the Miserere, see above.

Purgatorio Canto XXIV:100-154. A second reference, see above, to the Fourth Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew v 6, ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.’

Purgatorio Canto XXV:109-139. The Matin hymn, with its opening words, as given prior to the revision of the Breviary by Pope Urban VIII in 1631:  ‘Summae Deus Clementae: God of supreme mercy,’ which contains a prayer for protection against lustfulness.

Purgatorio Canto XXVII:1-45. ‘Beati mundo corde: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ The Sixth Beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew v 8.

Purgatorio Canto XXVII:46-93. The division of the sheep and goats at the last day, when the King shall say to the sheep on the right: ‘Venite benedicti patris mei: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew xxv 34.

Purgatorio Canto XXVIII:52-138. ‘Delectasti me, Domine in factura tua: For, thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work.’ Psalm 92 v4 is spoken by Matilda.

Purgatorio Canto XXIX:1-36. ‘Beati, quorum tecta sunt peccata: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.’ Psalm 32 verse 1.

Purgatorio CantoXXIX:82-105. ‘Blessed art thou among women’ are the words of the Angel Gabriel, and of Elizabeth, to Mary. See Luke i 28 and 42.

Purgatorio Canto XXX:1-48. The Elder representing the books of Solomon sings ‘Veni sponsa de Libano: Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon.’ from the Song of Solomon iv 8. Dante mentions that the Saints will sing Alleluia, on the Day of Judgement, an un-translated Hebrew word used as a chant of praise, taken over from synagogue usage (the Hebrew halleluyah meaning ‘praise ye Jehovah’)

Those in the chariot, sing the Benedictus, prescribed for Lauds, the first day-hour, by St Benedict: ‘Benedictus qui venit: Blessed is he that comest in the name of the Lord.’ See Matthew xxi 9, Mark xi 9, Luke xix 38, John xii 13.

Purgatorio Canto XXX:82-145. Psalm 31 lines 1-8. ‘In te, Domine, speravi: In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust, let me never be ashamed…thou hast set my feet in a large room.’

Purgatorio Canto XXXI:91-145. ‘Asperges me: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Psalm 51 verse 7.

Purgatorio Canto XXXIII:1-57. Psalm 79. ‘Deus, venerunt gentes: O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled..’

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