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The text was originally written in Latin. It is a metrical paraphrase of the O Antiphons , a series of plainchant antiphons attached to the Magnificat at Vespers over the final days before Christmas. The translation by John Mason Neale from Hymns Ancient and Modern is the most prominent by far in the English-speaking world, but other English translations also exist. Translations into other modern languages particularly German are also in widespread use. While the text may be used with many metrical hymn tunes, it was first combined with its most famous tune , often itself called Veni Emmanuel, in the English-language Hymnal Noted in Later, the same tune was used with versions of "O come, O come, Emmanuel" in other languages, including Latin.
The words and the music of "O come, O come, Emmanuel" developed separately. The Latin text is first documented in Germany in , whereas the tune most familiar in the English-speaking world has its origins in 15th-century France.
The pre-history of the text stretches back to the origins of the O Antiphons themselves, which were in existence by, at the latest, the eighth century. However, to speak meaningfully of the text of the hymn per se, they would need to be paraphrased in strophic, metrical form. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that efforts along those lines could have been made quite early; we know, for instance, that they were paraphrased extensively by the English poet Cynewulf in a poem written before the year While "O come, O come, Emmanuel" is often linked with the 12th century, the earliest surviving evidence of the hymn's text is in the seventh edition of Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum , which was published in Cologne in That hymnal was a major force in the history of German church music: first assembled by Jesuit hymnographer Johannes Heringsdorf in and receiving numerous revised editions through , it achieved enormous impact due to its use in Jesuit schools.
The text of the Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum version is essentially expanded, rather than altered, over the subsequent centuries. That version exhibits all of the hymn's characteristic qualities: it is strophic and metrical in the Each stanza consists of a four-line verse, which adapts one of the antiphons, and a new two-line refrain "Gaude, gaude!
Emmanuel will be born for you, O Israel" , which provides an explicitly Advent-oriented response to the petition of the verse. This first version of the hymn includes five verses, corresponding to five of the seven standard O Antiphons, in the following order:. In , "Veni, veni Emmanuel" was included in the second volume of Thesaurus Hymnologicus, a monumental collection by the German hymnologist Hermann Adalbert Daniel.
While the Latin text in this version was unchanged from Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum , Daniel's work would prove significant for the hymn in two ways. First, the Thesaurus would help to ensure a continued life for the Latin version of the hymn even as the Psalteriolum came to the end of its long history in print.
Second — and even more significantly for the English-speaking world — it was from Thesaurus Hymnologicus that John Mason Neale would come to know the hymn. Neale would both publish the Latin version of the hymn in Britain and translate the first and still most important English versions. This five-verse version of the hymn left two of the O Antiphons unused. No precise date or authorship is known for these verses.
At present, their first known publication is in Joseph Hermann Mohr 's Cantiones Sacrae of , which prints a seven-stanza Latin version in the order of the antiphons i. The meter is shared between the original Latin text and the English translation. However, at least in the English-speaking world, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is associated with one tune more than any other, to the extent that the tune itself is often called Veni Emmanuel.
The familiar tune called "Veni Emmanuel" was first linked with this hymn in , when Thomas Helmore published it in the Hymnal Noted , paired with an early revision of Neale's English translation of the text. There was even speculation that Helmore might have composed the melody himself.
The mystery was settled in by British musicologist Mary Berry also an Augustinian canoness and noted choral conductor , who discovered a 15th-century manuscript containing the melody in the National Library of France. The melody used by Helmore is found here with the text "Bone Jesu dulcis cunctis"; it is part of a series of two-part tropes to the responsory Libera me. As Berry writing under her name in religion , Mother Thomas More points out in her article on the discovery, "Whether this particular manuscript was the actual source to which [Helmore] referred we cannot tell at present.
Berry raised the possibility that there might exist "an even earlier version of" the melody. In the German language, Das katholische Gesangbuch der Schweiz "The Catholic Hymnal of Switzerland" and Gesangbuch der Evangelisch-reformierten Kirchen der deutschsprachigen Schweiz "The Hymnal of the Evangelical-Reformed Churches of German-speaking Switzerland" , both published in , adapt a version of the text by Henry Bone that usually lacks a refrain to use it with this melody.
The pairing of the hymn text with the Veni Emmanuel tune was proved an extremely significant combination. The hymn text was embraced both out of a Romantic interest in poetic beauty and medieval exoticism and out of a concern for matching hymns to liturgical seasons and functions rooted in the Oxford Movement in the Church of England. The Hymnal Noted , in which the words and tune were first combined, represented the "extreme point" of these forces.
This hymnal "consisted entirely of versions of Latin hymns, designed for use as Office hymns within the Anglican Church despite the fact that Office hymns had no part in the authorized liturgy. The music was drawn chiefly from plainchant," as was the case with the Veni Emmanuel tune for "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," the combination of which has been cited as an exemplar of this new style of hymnody. This new hymnal was a product of the same ideological forces that paired it with the Veni Emmanuel tune, ensuring its inclusion, but was also designed to achieve commercial success beyond any one party of churchmanship, incorporating high-quality hymns of all ideological approaches.
The volume succeeded wildly; by , Hymns Ancient and Modern was being used in three quarters of English churches. The book "probably did more than anything else to spread the ideas of the Oxford Movement" which include the aesthetics of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" "so widely that many of them became imperceptibly a part of the tradition of the Church as a whole.
While the "Veni Emmanuel" tune predominates in the English-speaking world, several others have been closely associated with the hymn. In the United States, some Lutheran hymnals use the tune "St. Alternative tunes are particularly common in the German-speaking world, where the text of the hymn originated, especially as the hymn was in use there for many years before Helmore's connection of it to the "Veni Emmanuel" tune became known.
This melody was carried across the Atlantic by Johann Baptist Singenberger , where it remains in use through the present in some Catholic communities in the United States. A version by Bone without a refrain is commonly connected with a tune from the Andernacher Gesangbuch Cologne, , but it can also be used with the melody of the medieval Latin hymn Conditor alme siderum , further demonstrating the flexibility of metrical hymnody.
The text of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," in all its various versions, is a metrical paraphrase of the O Antiphons , so the intricate theological allusions of the hymn are essentially the same as for the antiphons.
One notable difference is that the antiphon "O Radix Jesse" "root" of Jesse is generally rendered in meter as "Veni, O Iesse virgula" "shoot" of Jesse. Both refer to the writings of the prophet Isaiah Isaiah and Isaiah , respectively , but the hymn's "virgula" precludes the formation of the acrostic "ero cras" from the antiphons. In the versions below, a number at the end of each stanza indicates where it fits into the order of the O Antiphons e.
Veni, veni Emmanuel! Captivum solve Israel! Ex hostis tuos ungula, De specu tuos tartari Educ, et antro barathri. Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel nascetur pro te, Israel. Solare nos adveniens, Noctis depelle nebulas, Dirasque noctis tenebras. Regna reclude coelica, Fac iter Tutum superum, Et claude vias Inferum. John Mason Neale published the five-verse Latin version, which he had presumably learned from Daniels' Thesaurus Hymnologicus ,  in his collection Hymni Ecclesiae.
This version, now with the initial line reading "O come, O come, Emmanuel," would attain hegemony in the English-speaking world aside from minor variations from hymnal to hymnal. Thomas Alexander Lacey — created a new translation also based on the five-verse version for The English Hymnal in , but it received only limited use. It would take until the 20th century for the additional two stanzas to receive significant English translations.
The translation published by Henry Sloane Coffin in — which included only the "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" verse by Neale and Coffin's two "new" verses — gained the broadest acceptance, with occasional modifications. A full seven-verse English version officially appeared for the first time in , in the Hymnal of the Episcopal Church. Contemporary English hymnals print various versions ranging from four to eight verses.
The version included in the Hymnal of the Episcopal Church is typical: there are eight stanzas, with "Emmanuel" as both the first and the last stanza. Emmanuel Shall be born for thee, O Israel! Emmanuel Shall be born, for thee, O Israel! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high, And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come And open wide our heav'nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. O come, O come, Emmanuel! O come, thou Branch of Jesse! O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright! Pour on our souls thy healing light; Dispel the long night's lingering gloom, And pierce the shadows of the tomb. The royal door fling wide and free; Safeguard for us the heavenward road, And bar the way to death's abode.
O come, O come, Adonai, Who in thy glorious majesty From that high mountain clothed in awe, Gavest thy folk the elder Law. O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, And order all things, far and nigh; To us the path of knowledge show, And cause us in her ways to go. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The meter could easily accommodate a Hebrew-style pronunciation by substituting "O Adonai" in the first line and subtly adjusting the underlay in the second.
Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 December Glover, The Hymnal Companion , vol. Retrieved 23 February Hyperion Records. Mathiesen, Susan Boynton, Tom R. Hardwig, ed. New York: The A. Barnes Company, , Hymn Quoted in Hymns and Carols of Christmas. Glove, The Hymnal Companion , vol. Sufjan Stevens. Retrieved Retrieved 12 February Brave Words. O come, O come, Emmanuel. Veni, Veni Emmanuel!
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Veni, Veni Emmanuel
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