Stabat Mater Dolorosa - Latin text


With each composition I listened carefully to try to make out what text was being sung, which was not always easy to do. Surprisingly, it appeared that not one text existed, for I found a number of variations. It appears that two principal variations exist, with the main difference found in the 19th stanza, with completely different versions.  In the table below you will find the two basic versions. In the left column the one which is published in Analecta hymnica mediiaevi 1886-1922, 55 vols, A consolidation of the history and texts of hymns of the Catholic Church 500 - 1400, vol. 54, p.312. In my comments on the compositions I will call this the "Analecta-version".

In the right column I give the version that I think is official nowadays in the church. As far as I know this has become official since 1908. I will refer to it as the "Vatican-version". The differences between the two I have emphasized by using italics. Though I have not yet been able to find out with absolute certainty what text of the Stabat Mater is the original one, strong indications can be found. For instance, it is interesting to notice that an alternative that is used in the Vatican version (the second line in stanza 17, Fac me cruce inebriari), cannot be right: this line has a syllable more than the 8 syllables that are characteristic for this poem!   Furthermore, the last words of stanzas 19 and 20 (victoriae, gloria) do not rhyme! The oldest reference to the deviating "Vatican" stanza 19 can be found in the 15th century manuscript Laurenziano Ashburnamiano.

An further indication that the "Analecta"-version could be the original poem can be found in the existence of a counterpart of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa, the Stabat Mater Speciosa. This poem has been found in a medieval handwriting, and it is clearly based on the "Analecta"-version.
In a little book from 1957 by P.Maximilianus O.F.M.Cap. (probably a Dutch catholic clergyman) called De Middelnederlandse Vertalingen van het Stabat Mater the author describes a study in which he examines seven mediaeval translations of the poem into Dutch, found in mediaeval manuscripts. During this study he has met a number of deviating Latin stanzas (a.o. for the nrs. 10, 14, 16, 17 and 18) which can be found in the second colum of the table, within parentheses. He blames these on the bad work of copyists who tried to better the original.
He further states, that the German author C.Blume in his work Stimmen der Zeit (1915) after an extensive analysis of over 50 manuscripts, also concluded that the "Analecta"-version must be the original one.

The medieval English composers Ashwell, Brown, Cornysh and Davy all use a text that differs greatly from the original. The first 8 stanzas are the same, but the other 12 are replaced by 6 others, not only with a different content, but also with a different rhyme scheme (aaac, bbbc). These stanzas can be found below, after the original poem.

Finally, it is interesting to note that nowadays almost nobody pays any attention to the fact that in Latin the letter "J" does not exist! As I try to be as close to the original as possible, I have replaced every "J" with an "I".
Now (February 2003) Martin Giles mails me that in Latin the letters "u" and "v" are the same. According to him, consistent would be to use "u" for lower case (inuentus, in stead of inventus) and "V" for upper case (Vt, in stead of Ut). He may be right, but I am not going to be as consistent as that, as it would change the "look" of the text completely!

"Analecta"-version

 

"Vatican"-version

Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

1

Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

Cuius animam gementem
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

2

Cuius animam gementem
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

3

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Et tremebat cum videbat
Nati poenas incliti

4

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati poenas incliti

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Christi Matrem si videret
In tanto supplicio?

5

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari,
Piam Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

6

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Iesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

7

Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Iesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriendo desolatum
Dum emisit spiritum

8

Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriendo desolatum
Dum emisit spiritum

Eia Mater, fons amoris
Me sentire vim doloris
Fac, ut tecum lugeam

9

Eia Mater, fons amoris
Me sentire vim doloris
Fac, ut tecum lugeam

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
In amando Christum Deum
Ut sibi complaceam

10

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum         (Ut cor nostrum exardescat)
In amando Christum Deum     (Et in Christo requiescat)
Ut sibi complaceam                (Ut ei placeamus)

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

11

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

Tui nati vulnerati,
Tam dignati pro me pati,
Poenas mecum divide.

12

Tui nati vulnerati,
Tam dignati pro me pati,
Poenas mecum divide.

Fac me vere tecum flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
Donec ego vixero.

13

Fac me tecum, pie, flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
Donec ego vixero.

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
Te libenter sociare
In planctu desidero

14

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,     (In me sistat dolor tui)
Et me tibi sociare                  (Crucifixo fac me frui)
In planctu desidero                (Dum sim in exilio)

Virgo virginum praeclara,
Mihi iam non sis amara
Fac me tecum plangere

15

Virgo virginum praeclara,
Mihi iam non sis amara
Fac me tecum plangere

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis eius sortem,
Et plagas recolere.

16

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis fac consortem,
Et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
Cruce hac inebriari,
Ob amorem Filii

17

Fac me plagis vulnerari,         (Spinis, clavis vulnerari)
Fac me cruce inebriari,           (Cruce, lancea beari)
Et cruore Filii                        

Inflammatus et accensus
Per Te, Virgo, sim defensus
In die iudicii.

18

Flammis ne urar succensus   (Virgo dulcis, virgo pia)
Per Te, Virgo, sim defensus    (Virgo clemens, o Maria)
In die iudicii                             (Audi preces servuli)

Fac me cruce custodiri
Morte Christi praemuniri
Confoveri gratia

19

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Da per Matrem me venire
Ad palmam victoriae

Quando corpus morietur,
Fac, ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria. Amen.

20

Quando corpus morietur,
Fac, ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria. Amen

 

Medieval English (Stanzas 9 - 14) with translation

 

Stabat Mater, rubens rosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Videns ferre criminosa
Nullum reum crimine

9

The Mother stood, a blushing rose
in tears at the foot of the cross
as she saw him undergo a criminal's fate
who was guilty of no crime

Et dum stetit generosa
Iuxta natum dolorosa
Plebs tunc canit clamorosa:
'Crucifige, crucifige'

10

And as she stood with full heart
grieving beside her son
the crowd shouted raucously:
'Crucify him, crucify him'

O quam gravis illa poena
Tibi, virgo poenae plena
Commemorans praeamoena
Iam versa in maestetam

11

O how grievous was the pain
you suffered, Virgin full of sorrows
when you recalled former joys
now all turned to lamentation

Color erat non inventus
In te, Mater, dum detentus
Stabat natus, sic contentus
Ad debellandum Sathanam

12

All the life drained from you, Mother,
while your son stood constrained there
gladly bearing his pain
that Satan might be overthrown

Per haec, nata praeamata
Natum tuum, qui peccata
Delet cuncta perpetrata
Deprecare dulciflue

13

By these merits, most beloved lady,
beseech your son, who takes away
all the sin that we have committed
with sweet and gracious prayers

Ut, nostra tergens ingrata
In nobis plantet firme grata
Per quem dando praelibata
Praestet aeterna requi. Amen

14

That, wiping away all our stain
he might plant firmly in us the gifts of grace
and might fulfil in us what they promise
in our eternal rest. Amen

 E-mail: stabatmater@dds.nl

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