“Heaven’s Food”: A Poem of Georg Fabricius

After a bit of a hiatus, I have a new poem translation to share, by the great German Neo-Latin poet Georg Fabricius. Below is the first of his hymns, on the Last Supper and the Lord’s Supper.

It is written in the standard Latin hymnic meter of Ambrosian iambic dimeters. I have use the English equivalent of the same meter, as I also did last December for one of St. Ambrose’s hymns and, before that, for Sedulius’s A solis ortus cardine. As in the latter, the second and fourth lines of each stanza rhyme.

Hope you enjoy it.

CHRISTUS COENANS cum Apostolis.

Esa. LIII. Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit.

HORA SEXTA.

Paschalis agnus interit,
    Se Christus agnus obtulit,
    Qui corpus atque sanguinem
    Suis fruendum praecipit,

In pane corpus porrigit,
    Praebet cruorem in poculo;
    Hoc ut sit indelebilis
    Signum perenne foederis. 

Da Christe carnem sic tuam,
    Tuum cruorem sumere,

     Ut vitam in aeternam fide

     Alamur omni tempore.

Nil afferat torpentibus

     Oblivionem sensibus,

     Quin efferamus debitis

     Laudes tuas praeconiis.

And in English:

Christ Eating with His Apostles

Isaiah 53: “He was offered, because he willed it.”

At the sixth hour.

The paschal lamb has passed away

     Since Christ, the Lamb, offered Himself,

     Who gives His body and His blood 

     For starving sinners’ saving health.

His body he puts forth in bread,

     His blood he tenders in the cup—

     An earthly sign and testament

     Of heaven’s food, on which we sup.

Grant that your holy flesh, O Christ,

     Your holy blood we so receive

     That we are nourished unto life

     As eating, drinking, we believe.

In no way does Your Table dull

     Our dull, insensate faculties:

     It stirs the praise we owe You for

     The gifts the eye of faith perceives.

Tags

Related Articles

Other Articles by

Wilder’s Island

A possible allusion to Aristophanes in Thornton Wilder's The Woman of Andros.

“Bloodbath”: A Limerick

A limerick about how the White House has managed to make misleading the public not just bad, but boring.

Join our Community
Subscribe to receive access to our members-only articles as well as 4 annual print publications.
Share This