Defensor

Arnold Böcklin, Der Krieg, 1896
Arnold Boecklin, Der Krieg, 1896

Tristes nunc populi, Christe redemptor,
pacem suppliciter cerne rogantes,
threnos et gemitus, cerne dolorem,
maestis auxilium desuper affer.

dire namque fremens, en, furor atrox
gentis finitimae arva minatur
saeve barbarico murmure nostra
vastari, perminens ut lupus agnum.

defensor quis erit, ni prius ipse
succurras miserans, auctor Olympi?
humano generi crimina parcas,
affectos venia dones amare.

Abram praesidio perculit olim
reges quinque tuo, conditor aevi,
haud multis pueris nempe parentem
prostratis reducens hostibus atris.

Moyses gelidi aequora ponti
confidens populum torrida carpens
deduxit, refluens undaque hostem
extemplo rapiens occulit omnem.

trecentisque viris Amalecitas
deiecit Gedeon iussus adire,
oppressum populum vindice ferro
liberavit ope fretus opima.

haec tu, cunctipotens, omnia solus,
in cuius manibus sunt universa,
in te nostra salus, gloria in te,
occidis iterum vivificasque.

maior quippe tua gratia, Iesu,
quam sit flagitii copia nostri,
contritos nec enim maestaque corda,
clemens, vel humiles spernere nosti.

salva ergo tua morte redemptos,
salva suppliciter pacta petentes,
disrumpe frameas, spicula frange,
confringe clipeos bella volentum.

iam caelum gemitus scandat amarus,
iam nubes penetret vox lacrimarum
vatum, contritio plebis anhela;
salvator placidus, iam miserere.

(Anonymous, Tempore belli hymnus in supplicatione)

Christ Redeemer, Your people are sorrowful,
see how they in supplication beg for peace,
hear their groans and lamentations, mark their anguish,
bring succour to the afflicted from on high.

For, lo, raging fearfully the cruel fury
of the neighboring people threatens to destroy
our fields, savagely, with barbarian roar,
like the wolf that slays the lamb.

Who will be our protector, Lord of Olympus,
if You don’t come to our aid first in Your pity?
Forgive the human race its transgressions,
grant Your love to those You touch with Your grace.

With Your assistance Abraham once smote
five kings, o creator of the universe,
overthrowing the malicious foe and
returning to but few children their father.

Moses, relying on You, led his people
through the dried up waters of the frigid sea,
and the waves, flowing back, forthwith
dragged off and covered every enemy.

Gideon too, ordered to attack the Amalekites
with three hundred men, defeated them
with his vengeful sword and freed his oppressed people,
relying on Your ample support.

All this You did alone, omnipotent one,
You who hold the universe in Your hands.
In You lies our salvation, in You our glory,
whether you kill us or bring us back to life.

For Your grace, Jesus, is greater
than the multitude of our sins:
merciful one, You know not how to scorn
the remorseful, the despairing or the humble.

So save those whom by Your death You have redeemed,
save those who beg You to keep Your promises,
shatter the spears, crush the arrowheads,
and break the shields of those who lust for war.

Let our bitter plaint ascend to heaven,
let the tearful voice of the prophets and
the breathless repentance of your people penetrate
the clouds; peaceful saviour, have pity on us!

(tr. David Bauwens)

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