John Sheppard (c1515-1558): Ave maris stella

Ave maris stella is a Marian Hymn intended to be sung at First Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like most that remains of John Sheppard’s (c1515-1558) music it’s drawn from the Offices of the major feasts in the liturgical year. The backbone of the piece is the chant which moves forward in long note values and anchors the suspensions.

Video and Quote Source: Ave maris stella – John Sheppard (c1515-1558) – YouTube Uploaded by markfromireland on Feb 5, 2012. I’ve put the text and translation below the fold. Enjoy :-).


Text: Ave maris stella


Ave maris stella,
Dei mater alma,
Atque semper virgo,
Felix caeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans nomen Evae.

Solve vincla reis,
Profer lumen caecis:
Mala nostra pelle
Bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem:
Sumat per te preces
Qui pro nobis natus,
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpos solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum:
Ut videntes Jesum
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri
Summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto
Tribus honor unus. Amen.

Hymn at First Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail, star of the sea,
nourishing mother of God
and eternal virgin,
blessed gate of heaven.

Taking that ‘Ave’
from the mouth of Gabriel,
preserve us in peace,
changing the name of ‘Eva’.

Strike off the chains of the guilty,
bring light to the blind;
drive out our evil,
give us all that is good.

Show yourself to be our mother:
through you may he receive our prayers,
He who, born for us,
consented to be yours.

Virgin past compare,
meekest of all women,
make us, absolved of our sins,
meek and chaste.

Grant us a pure life,
prepare a safe journey for us;
that, seeing Jesus,
we may ever rejoice.

Let there be praise to God the Father,
honour to Christ on high,
to the Holy Spirit,
to all three one honour. Amen.

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