Veni, Creator Spiritus ("Come Creator Spirit") is a hymn believed to have been written by Rabanus Maurus in the 9th century. When the original Latin text is used, it is normally sung in Gregorian Chant. As an invocation of the Holy Spirit, in the practice of the Roman Catholic Church it is sung during the liturgical celebration of the feast of Pentecost (at both Terce and Vespers). It is also sung at occasions such as the entrance of Cardinals to the Sistine Chapel, when electing a new pope, as well as at the consecration of bishops, the ordination of priests, when celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation, the dedication of churches, the celebration of synods or councils, the coronation of kings, the profession of members of religious institutes and other similar solemn events.
The hymn is also widely used in the Anglican Communion and appears, for example, in the Ordering of Priests and in the Consecration of Bishops in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662. It has been translated into several languages; one English example is Creator Spirit! by whose aid, written 1690 by John Dryden and published in The Church Hymn book 1872 (n. 313). Martin Luther used it as the basis for his chorale for Pentecost "Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist", first published in 1524.
First verse of Veni, Creator Spiritus
A motet for women's voices to the text was among the last works of Hector Berlioz. Gustav Mahler set the Latin text to music in Part I of his Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major. Maurice Duruflé used the chant tune as the basis for his symphonic organ composition "Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du 'Veni Creator'" in 1930. Paul Hindemith concludes his Concerto for Organ and Orchestra with a Phantasy on "Veni, Creator Spiritus." Krzysztof Penderecki wrote a motet for mixed choir, and the text has been set for chorus and orchestra by Cristóbal Halffter. Karlheinz Stockhausen used the text in the second hour of his Klang cycle in a piece for two singing harpists titled Freude (Joy).
Veni, Creator Spiritus: Gregorian chant
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- Latin text
- English version
- Veni, Creator Spiritus,
- mentes tuorum visita,
- imple superna gratia,
- quae tu creasti, pectora.
- Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come
- from thy bright heav'nly throne;
- come, take possession of our souls,
- and make them all thine own.
- Qui diceris Paraclitus,
- donum Dei altissimi,
- fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
- et spiritalis unctio.
- Thou who art called the Paraclete,
- best gift of God above,
- the living spring, the living fire,
- sweet unction and true love.
- Tu septiformis munere,
- dextrae Dei tu digitus
- tu rite promissum Patris,
- sermone ditans guttura.
- Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace,
- finger of God's right hand;
- his promise, teaching little ones
- to speak and understand.
- Accende lumen sensibus,
- infunde amorem cordibus,
- infirma nostri corporis
- virtute firmans perpeti.
- O guide our minds with thy blest light,
- with love our hearts inflame;
- and with thy strength, which ne'er decays,
- confirm our mortal frame.
- Hostem repellas longius
- pacemque dones protinus;
- ductore sic te praevio
- vitemus omne noxium.
- Far from us drive our deadly foe;
- true peace unto us bring;
- and through all perils lead us safe
- beneath thy sacred wing.
- Per te sciamus da Patrem
- noscamus atque Filium,
- te utriusque Spiritum
- credamus omni tempore.
- Through thee may we the Father know,
- through thee th'eternal Son,
- and thee the Spirit of them both,
- thrice-blessed three in One.
Notable English translations
Since the English Reformation in the 16th century, there have been more than fifty English language translations and paraphrases of Veni, Creator Spiritus. The version included in the 1662 revision of the Book of Common Prayer retained the Latin title and was written by Bishop John Cosin for the coronation of King Charles I of Great Britain in 1625. The same words have been used at every coronation since, and is sung by the choir after the singing of the Creed, while the sovereign is dressed in a white alb and seated in the Coronation Chair, prior to the Anointing. The first verse is:
- Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
- and lighten with celestial fire.
- Thou the anointing Spirit art,
- who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Another well-known version by the poet John Dryden was first published in his 1693 work, Examen Poeticum. It may be sung to the tune "Melita" by John Bacchus Dykes. Dryden's first verse is:
- Creator Spirit, by whose aid
- The world's foundations first were laid,
- Come, visit every pious mind;
- Come, pour thy joys on humankind;
- From sin and sorrow set us free,
- And make thy temples worthy thee.
- 1 2 "Mass and Rite of Canonisation" (PDF). vatican.va. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- ↑ Charles S. Nutter & Wilbur F. Tillett, The Hymns and Hymn Writers of The Church, Smith & Lamar, 1911 (p.108)
- ↑ Reverend Ivan D. Aquilina, The Eucharistic Understanding of John Cosin and his Contribution to the 1662 Book Of Common Prayer (p.6)
- ↑ http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/royals/coronations/guide-to-the-coronation-service
- ↑ Hymnary.org - "Creator Spirit by whose aid"