Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit). This hymn, which Trench declares to be the loveliest of all the hymns in the whole circle of Latin sacred poetry, and which dean Stanley calls "the most beautiful of all Latin hymns," is generally ascribed to Robert II, king of France. Whether he really was its author or not cannot now be ascertained. Trench does not hesitate to ascribe it to him. But whoever was its author, the Church has reason to be thankful' for this precious jewel of sacred poetry. This hymn, which is appointed in the Roman Church for Whitsuntide, and is contained in Luther's Form of Ordination, runs thus in the original:
"Veni, Sancte Spiritus, Et emitte coelitus Lucis tuoe radium. Veni, Pater pauperum, Veni, Dator munerum, Veni, Lumen cordium:
"Consolator optime, Dulcis hospes anima, Dulce refrigerium: In labore requies, In aestn temperies, In fletu solatium.
"O lux beatissima, Reple cordis intima Tuorum fidelium. Sine tuo numine Nihil est in homine, Nihil est innoxium.
"Lava quod est sordidum, Riga quod est aridum, Sana quod est saucium: Flecte quod est rigidum, Fove quod est languidum, Rege quod est devium.
"Da tuis fidelibus In te confidentibus Sacrum septenarium; Da virtutis meritum, Da salutis exitnm, Da perenne gaudium."
It has very often been translated into English, and one of the latest is the translation made by dean Stanley, running thus:
"Come, Holy Spirit, from above, And from the realms of light and love Thine own bright rays impart. Come, Father of the fatherless, Come, Giver of all happiness, Come, Lamp of every heart;
"O thou, of comforters the best, O thou, the soul's most welcome guest, O thou, our sweet repose, Our resting-place from life's long care, Our shadow from the world's fierce glare, Our solace in all woes.
"O Light divine, all light excelling Fill With thyself the inmost dwelling Of souls sincere and lowly; Without thy pure divinity, Nothing in all humanity, Nothing is strong or holy.
"Wash out each dark and sordid stain, Water each dry and arid plain, Raise up the bruised reed. Enkindle what is cold and chill Relax the stiff and stubborn will, Guide those that guidance need.
"Give to the good, who find in thee The Spirit's perfect liberty, Thy sevenfold power and love. Give virtue strength its crown to win, Give struggling souls their rest from sin, Give endless peace above."
As this hymn has held a place with the most esteemed in both the Romish and the Protestant Church, it could not fail that Germany should also contribute her share in its translation; and thus, as early as 1541, it was translated by Witzel: Komm, heiliger Geist, wahrer Gött, and has ever since found its admirers. (B. P.)