Mittit ad virginem (Josquin des Prez)

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  • (Posted 2021-04-02)  CPDL #63873:       
Editor: John Hetland (submitted 2021-04-02).   Score information: Letter, 15 pages, 1.38 MB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Source: New Josquin Edition, vol 24, ed. Willem Elders et al., KVvNM, 2007. Notation here is at the original pitch with time values halved. Translation, text underlay, editorial accidentals, and alterations (see last page) by John Hetland and the Renaissance Street Singers. 19 Mar 2021

General Information

Title: Mittit ad virginem
Composer: Josquin des Prez
Lyricist: Peter Abelard (1079-1142)
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

    Manuscript c.1527 in Cappella Sistina MS 46, no. 39
Description: Celebrating the Annunciation

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Míttit ad vírginem Non quem vis ángelum,
Sed fortitúdinem, Súum archángelum,
   Amátor hóminis.
Fórtem expédiat Pro nóbis núntium,
Natúre fáciat Ut prejudícium
   In pártu vírginis.
Natúram súperet Nátus rex glórie:
Régnet et ímperet, Et zýma scórie
   Tóllat de médio.
Superbiéntium Térat fastígia,
Cólla sublímium Cálcans vi própria,
   Pótens in prélio.
Fóras ejíciat Mundánum príncipem,
Matrémque fáciat Sécum partícipem
   Pátris impérii.
Exi, qui mítteris Hec dóna dícere:
Revéla véteris Velámen líttere,
   Virtúte núntii.

Accéde, núntia: Dic, áve, cóminus;
Dic, pléna grátia; Dic, técum dóminus;
   Et dic, ne tímeas.
Vírgo suscípias Déi depósitum,
In quo perfícias Cásta propósitum,
   Et vótum téneas.
Audit et súscipit Puélla núntium;
Crédit et cóncipit, Et párit fílium,
   Sed admirábilem
Consiliárium Humáni géneris,
Et déum fórtium, Et pátrem pósteris,
   In páce stábilem.
Qui nos sálvet per ómnia seculórum sécula.
 --Peter Abelard (1079-1142)

English.png English translation

He sends to the virgin not just any angel,
but the strength, his archangel,
   the lover of mankind.
May he declare for us the mighty message,
may he effect in nature the preordained
   birth by a virgin.
May the born king of glory overcome nature:
May he reign and rule, and the weight of dross
   may he remove from our midst.
May he frighten the highest of the proud,
treading upon the very necks of the exalted,
   mighty in battle.
May he throw out the worldly prince,
and make his mother a partner with him
   in his father's kingdom.
Go forth, you who send these gifts, to speak:
remove the veil from the ancient writings
   by the strength of the news.

Come close, messenger, say "Hail" in person;
say "full of grace;" say "the Lord is with you;"
   and say "fear not."
Virgin, may you take up what God has set down,
in which to accomplish your chaste intention
   and keep your vow.
The maiden hears and accepts the message;
she believes and conceives and bears a son,
   but a wondrous
Counselor of the human race,
and God of the strong, father of those to come,
   and steadfast in peace.
Who heals us through all ages of ages.