Horae canonicae Salvatoris (LOTH): EDITED



I’m a student from Poland and I’m now working on an essay about diverse realizations of the Liturgy of Hours motifs in sacral poetry. I have a couple of polish medieval texts containing these ones but I reckon that it’ll be better to find some more examples from other nations’ literatures. I’m especially interested in English medieval poetry but unfortunately after long search I couldn’t find on the Internet any single instance of this theme in poems from Middle Ages period.

To specify what I’m looking for, I’m interested mainly in these passion poems, in which verses (and structure) appear direct references to the Liturgy of Hours. Like in this example:

‘At the ninth hour Jesus cried: ‘El!’
Jews, who had crossed him, were laughing at him;
To John was recommended his beloved mother Mary,
Here Christ’s soul was separated with corps.’

It’s my extemporary (not taking into account original rhythm and rhymes) translation of polish XIV-th century poem with an incipit ‘Jesus Christ, God-Human, His Father’s Wisdom’ (“Jezus Chrystus, Bog Człowiek, Mądrość Oćca Swego”). As you can see, an author have mentioned here the Ninth Hour (None) from canonical hours. Before and after this strophe there are also mentioned other hours adequate to each stage of the passion of Christ.

I’ll be eternally grateful If you could help me with this research. And I’ll be more pleased If you would give me also the name of the anthology containing the poem.
Merci d’avance! :slight_smile:

(Apologize me, if I had mislead the forum but I couldn’t find better to post this thread.) :blush:


Welcome to CAF!

I’m thinking, perhaps you’re looking for the poem Patris sapientia? Since we’re talking about books of hours, many such books had this so-called Hours of the Cross (Horae Sanctae Crucis, Horae de Sancta Cruce), usually paired together with the Hours of the Holy Spirit. Here’s three examples:


The contents of the Hours only consist of the hymn Patris sapientia veritas divina divided with a stanza at each of the canonical hours, followed by a short verse and a prayer, repeated without variation from Matins to Compline. (The Hours of the Holy Spirit had the same format: stanzas of the hymn Nobis Sancti Spiritus gratia sit data divided among the different hours.) The Hours of the Cross’ (and the Hours of the Holy Spirit’s) Matins were first recited after Lauds of the Hours of the Virgin, aka the Little Office of Our Lady: to make up for this, both hours did not have Lauds.

AFAIK there are some variations in the wording of the hymn, but it begins pretty much like:

(Matins) Patris sapientia, veritas divina,
Deus homo captus est hora matutina:
A notis (et) discipulis cito derelictus:
a Iudaeis traditus, venditus, et afflictus.

(Wisdom of the Father, truth divine,
God-made-man was seized at matintide.
By friends and disciples (or “By known disciples”) quickly deserted,
He was delivered up to the Jews, sold, and afflicted.)

I’m assuming that the hymn you mentioned (Jezus Chrystus, Bog Człowiek, mądrość Oćca swego) is a translation or adaptation of this hymn, but I’m not totally sure.


P.S. I believe the 14th-century poet William of Shoreham made a Middle English translation of Patris sapientia veritas divina (aka the Horae canonicae salvatoris) - in fact, the full Hours of the Cross. Here’s Matins for example:

Pater noster. Domine, labia mea aperies, etc.

Thou opene myne lyppen, Lord,
Let felthe of senne out wende;
And my mouth with wel god accord
Schel thyne worschypynge sende.

Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

Vaderis wyt of heve an-heȝ,
Sothnesse of our Dryȝte,
God and man y-take was
At matyn-tyde by nyȝte.
The disciples that were his,
Anone hy hyne for-soke,
I-seld to Gywes and by-traid,
To pyne hyne toke.

Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicamus tibi, etc.

We the honreth, Jhesu Cryst,
And blesseth ase thou os touȝtest;
For thourȝ thy crouche and passyon
Thys wordle thou for-bouȝtest.

Oremus, Domine Jhesu Criste.

We the byddeth, Jhesu Cryst,
Godes son a-lyve,
Sete on crouche pyne and passyoun,
And thy dethe that hys ryve;
Gode atende to my socour,
Lorde, hyȝe, and help me fyȝte!
Glorye to the Fader and Sone,
And to the Gost of myȝtte;
Ase hyt was ferst and hiis,
And schal evere-more be wyth ryȝte.
Bytuext ous and jugement
That no fend ous ne schende,
Nou, ne wanne the tyme comthe
Thet we scholle hennes wende.
And ȝyf the lyves mysse and grace,
The dede redand and reste,
Holy cherche acord and pays
Our glorye and lyf that beste;
That levest and regnest wyth the Fader
Ther never nys no pyne,
And also wyth the Holy Goste,
Evere wythoute fyne. Amen.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; benedicta tu, etc.

O swete levedy, wat they was wo,
Tho Jhesus by-come in orne;
For drede tho the blodes dropen
Of swote of hym doun orne.
And, levedy, the was wel wors,
Tho that thou seȝe in dede
Thy leve childe reulyche y-nome
And ase a thef forthe lede.
And ase he tholede thet for ous,
Levedy, wythoute sake,
Defende ous wanne we dede bethe,
That noe fende ous ne take.

You can find the full version here (The Religious Poems of William de Shoreham: Vicar of Chart-Sutton, in Kent, in the Reign of Edward II, Preserved in a Contemporary Manuscript (1849), pages 82-89; alternate link). Here’s also another link to the same.


Here are the respective stanzas for every canonical hour of the Cross. The funny letters are thorn (Þ, þ) and yogh (Ȝ, ȝ).

[Hora matutina].
Vaderis wyt of heve[ne] an-heȝ,
Soþnesse of our Dryȝte,
God and man y-take was
At matyn-tyde by nyȝte.
Þe disciples þat were his,
Anone hy hyne for-soke;
I-seld to Gywes, and by-traid,
To pyne hyne (hy hyne?) toke.


Hora prima.
At prime, Jhesus was iled
To-fore syre Pylate,
Þar wytnesses false and fele
By-lowen hyne for hate.
In þane nekke hy hene smyte,
Bonden hys honden of myȝtte,
By-spet hym þat swe[t]e semblant
Þat hevene and erþe a-lyȝtte.


[Hora tertia.]
Crucyfige! Crucifige!
Gredden hy at ondre;
A pourpre cloþ hi dede hym on,
A scorne an hym to wondre;
Hy to-stek hys swete hefed
Wyþ one þornene coroune;
Toe Calvarye his crouche ha beer
Wel reuliche ouȝt of þe toune.


Hora sexta.
On crouche y-nayled was Jhesus
Atte sixȝte tyde;
Stronge þeves hengen hy
On eyþer half hys syde.
Ine hys pyne hys stronge þerst
Stanchede hy wyþ ȝalle;
So þat Godes holy lombe
Of senne wesche ous alle.


Hora nona.
Atte none Jhesu Cryst
Þane harde deaþ felde;
Ha grade “Hely” to hys fader,
Þe soule he gan op-ȝelde.
A kniȝt wyþ one scharpe spere
Stang hyne iþe ryȝt syde;
Þerþe schok, þe sonne dym
By-come in þare tyde.


De cruce deponitur. hora, etc.
Of þe crouche he was do
At ave-sanges (eve-sanges?) oure;
Þe strengþe [lefte] lotede ine God
Of oure Sauveoure.
Suche a deaþ a under-ȝede,
Of lyf þe medicine;
Alas, hi was y-leyd adoun
Þe croune of blisse, in pyne.


Hora complettorij.
At complyn hyt was y-bore
To þe beryynge,
Þat noble corps of Jhesu Cryst,
Hope of lives comynge.
Wel richeleche hit was anoynt,
Folfeld hys holy boke;
Ich bydde, lord, þy passioun
In myne mende loke.


Thanks a lot, that’s exactly what I was looking for.
I know that polish text quoted by me have been written on the basis of this latin hymn (Patris sapientia veritas divina), so your assumptions are absolutely correct, but I couldn’t find an example of its variation in the English literature. So thank you again for the text of William of Shoreham.

May I ask you another question - I’ve also found this stanza (it was, by the way, mentioned in one of your links):

At Matins bound;
at Prime reviled;
Condemned to death at Tierce;
Nailed to the Cross at Sext;
at None His blessed Side they pierce.
They take him down at Vesper-tide;
In grave at Compline lay,
Who thenceforth bids His Church observe
The sevenfold hours alway

…with an annotation that it’s medieval. But I’m not sure, if it’s truth (the language sounds a little bit modern, I suppose). Do you maybe know anything about this? I’ve just found an information, that it comes from the book “The Divine Office” by Rev. E.J. Quigley (1920).

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