‘Veni Veni Emanuel’ is my favourite Advent Hymn, it’s a 12th-century lyrical paraphrase of the famous ‘O’antiphons. These antiphons date from the 8th century and are meant to be sung between December 17th and December 23rd. Each antiphon’s name is a name, or attribute, of Christ mentioned in the Bible. It’s based on Isaiah 7:14:
14 Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum : ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen ejus Emmanuel.
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.
The name ‘Emmanuel’ translates as ‘I shall soon be with you’ and the full title can be translated into English as "Oh come, oh come, God be with us". Its lyrics calling on Christ to hasten and redeem us is the very essence of Advent. The melody is French and is about 800 years old the hymn as it now sung is just over 300 years old and comes from the Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum published in 1710 in Cologne. It’s sung below by the Choir of Queens’ College, Cambridge, conducted by Silas Wollston. Enjoy :-).
Text: Veni Veni Emanuel
|Latin||English (Helmore/Neale translation)|
|Veni veni, Emmanuel |
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,
|O come, O come, Emmanuel, |
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel,
|Veni, O Sapientia, |
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae. (Refrain).
|O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high, |
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. (Refrain).
|Veni, veni, Adonai, |
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae. (Refrain).
|O come, o come, Thou Lord of might, |
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe. (Refrain).
|Veni, O Iesse virgula, |
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri. (Refrain).
|O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem, |
from ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave. (Refrain).
|Veni, Clavis Davidica, |
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum. (Refrain).
|O come, Thou Key of David, come, |
and open wide our heav’nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh. (Refrain).
|Veni, veni O Oriens, |
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras. (Refrain).
|O come, Thou Dayspring from on high, |
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight. (Refrain).
|Veni, veni, Rex Gentium, |
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios. (Refrain).
|O come, Desire of the nations, bind |
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven’s peace. (Refrain).