Vexilla Regis

Composer
Difficulty
Moderately Difficult radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_unchecked
Voicing(s)
Instrumental Only?
No
Description

A wonderfully powerful and effective setting of the Latin plainsong hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt (The Royal Banners Forward Go). The piece alternates between the plainsong melody and harmonized treatments (or canons) of the tune. Latin and English versions included. SATB a cappella. Text by Venantius Honorius Fortunatus (d.600). The English version is a composite translation.

Audio
Lyrics
Vexilla regis prodeunt,
fulget crucis mysterium,
qua vita mortem pertulit
et morte vitam protulit.
 
Quae vulnerata lanceae
mucrone diro criminum,
ut nos lavaret crimine,
manavit unda sanguine.
 
Impleta sunt quae concinit
David fideli carmine,
dicendo nationibus:
regnavit a ligno Deus.
 
Arbor decora et fulgida,
ornata Regis purpura,
electa digno stipite
tam sancta membra tangere.
 
Beata, cuius brachiis
pretium pependit saeculi:
statera facta corporis,
tulitque praedam tartari.
 
O Crux ave, spes unica,
hoc Passionis tempore!
piis adauge gratiam,
reisque dele crimina.
 
Te, fons salutis Trinitas,
collaudet omnis spiritus:
quibus crucis victoriam
largiris adde praemium. Amen.
 
________
 
The royal banners forward go
the cross sines forth in mystic glow
where he through whom our flesh was made
in that same flesh our ransom paid.
 
Into his side was thrust the spear
life's torrent rushing dark and clear
to wash us in the precious flood
where flowed the water and the blood.
 
Fulfilled is all that David told
in true prophetic song of old;
how God the nations' King should be
for God is reigning from the tree.
 
O tree of beauty, tree most fair
odrained those holy limbs to bear:
gone is thy shame, each crimson bough
proclaims the King of glory now.
 
Blest tree, whose chosen branches bore
the wealth that did the world restore
the price which none but he could pay
to spoil the spoiler of his prey.
 
O cross, our one reliance, hail!
still may thy power with us prevail,
to save us sinners from our sin,
God's righteousness for all to win.
 
To thee, eternal Three in One,
let homage meet by all be done
as by thy Cross thou dost restore
so rule and guide us ever more.
Amen.