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Hildegard of Bingen: Ordo Virtutum CONFIRMATIO (17​–​18)

from ORDO VIRTUTUM by The Song Company



The Soul returns penitent, scarred and reeking with wounds inflicted by the Devil’s vices, and again seeks the Virtues’ intervention.
The Virtues welcome, forgive and heal the Soul, dressing her in a brilliant robe of purity.


17 Heu, heu, nos Virtutes plangamus
et lugeamus, quia ovis domini fugit vitam!
Querela Anime penitentis et Virtutes invocantis
O vos regales Virtutes, quam speciose
et quam fulgentes estis in summo sole,
et quam dulcis est vestra mansio –
et ideo, o ve michi, quia a vobis fugi.
O fugitive, veni, veni ad nos, et deus suscipiet te.
Anima illa
Ach! ach! fervens dulcedo absorbuit me
in peccatis, et ideo non ausa sum intrare.
Noli timere nec fugere,
quia pastor bonus querit
in te perditam ovem suam.
Anima illa
Nunc est michi necesse ut suscipiatis me,
quoniam in vulneribus feteo
quibus antiquus serpens me contaminavit.
Curre ad nos, et sequere vestigia illa
in quibus numquam cades in societate nostra,
et des curabit te.
Penitens Anima ad Virtutes
18 Ego peccator qui fugi vitam:
plenus ulceribus veniam ad vos,
ut prebeatis michi scutum redemptionis.
O tu omnis milicia regine,
et o vos, candida lilia ipsius, cum rosea purpura,
inclinate vos ad me,
quia peregrina a vobis exulavi,
et adiuvate me, ut in sanguine filii dei possim surgere.
O Anima fugitiva, esto robusta,
et indue te arma lucis.
Anima illa
Et o vera medicina, Humilitas,
prebe michi auxilium,
quia superbia in multis viciis fregit me,
multas cicatrices michi imponens.
Nunc fugio ad te, et ido suscipe me.
O omnes Virtutes, suscipite lugentem peccatorem,
in suis cicatricibus, propter vulnera Christi,
et perducite eum ad me.
Volumus te reducere et nolumus te deserere,
et omnis celestis milicia gaudet super te –
ergo decet nos in symphonia sonare.
O misera filia, volo te amplecti,
quia magnus medicus dura
et amara propter te passus est.
O vivens fons, quam magna est suavitas tua,
qui faciem istorum in te non amisisti,
sed acute previdisti quomodo
eos de angelico casu abstraheres
qui se estimabant illud habere
quod non licet sic stare;
unde gaude, filia Syon,
quia deus tibi multos reddit
quos serpens de te abscidere voluit,
qui nunc in maiori luce fulgent
quam prius illorum causa fuisset.
Que es, aut unde venis?
Tu amplexata es me, et ego foras eduxi te.
Sed nunc in reversione tua confundis me –
ego autem pugna mea deiciam te!

17 Alas, alas, let us Virtues lament and mourn,
because a sheep of the Lord has fled from life!
The Soul, lamenting, penitent and calling to the Virtues
O you royal Virtues, how stunning
and how brilliant you look in the highest Sun,
and how delightful is your home,
and so, oh what woe is mine that I fled from you!
O fugitive, come to us, and God will receive you.
Ah! Ah! a burning sweetness swallowed me up
in sins, and so I did not dare come in.
Don’t be afraid nor run away,
because the Good Shepherd
is searching for His lost sheep – in you.
That Soul
Now I need your help to receive me,
because I stink of the wounds
where the ancient serpent has poisoned me.
Run to us, and follow those footsteps
where you will never falter in our company,
and God will heal you.
The Penitent Soul to the Virtues
18 I am a sinner who fled from life:
covered in sores I will come to you
so you can offer me the shield of redemption.
O all of you warriors of Queen Humility,
and O you, her white lilies with crimson purple,
turn to me, who exiled myself
from you like a stranger,
and help me, that in the blood of the Son of God I may arise.
O fugitive Soul, now be strong and clothe yourself
in the armour of light.
And you, o true medicine, Humility,
grant me your help,
for pride has broken me in many vices,
inflicting many scars on me.
Now I am escaping to you, and therefore receive me!
O all you Virtues, receive this mournful sinner,
with all her scars, for the sake of Christ’s wounds,
and lead her to me.
We want to bring you back and shall not desert you,
and the whole host of heaven will rejoice over you:
therefore it is right for us sound our music in harmony.
O unhappy daughter, I want to embrace you:
the great Healer has suffered harsh
and bitter wounds for your sake.
O living fountain, how great is your sweetness:
you did not turn you face away from these,
but you acutely foresaw how you could avert them
from the fall the angels fell,
they who thought they possessed
a power which no law allows to be like that.
Wherefore rejoice then, daughter of Zion,
because God is giving you back many
whom the serpent wanted to separate from you,
who now gleam in a greater brightness
than would have been their state before.
Who are you? And where do you come from?
You were in my embrace, and I took you for a ride.
Yet now you are going back, defying me –
but I shall fight you and bring you down!


from ORDO VIRTUTUM, released December 1, 2021


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The Song Company Sydney, Australia

The Song Company belongs to a land whose first peoples have always used songlines and vocal music to pass knowledge and culture from one generation to another. We bring together Australia’s finest voices in innovative performances, commissioning new music, emerging artist development, educational outreach, and collaborative music-making across art forms. ... more

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