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Editor’s Note: “Beata Viscera Marie Virginis” (“Blessed Flesh of the Virgin Mary”) is a piece intended for the Communion section of a Mass honoring the Blessed Mother of God. This setting is a monophonic (one-voice) “conductus,” a musical form that gained in popularity during the lifetime of the medieval church composer Perotin, and which was intended to be sung during a procession. The melody is one fashioned by Perotin, and unlike much church music of the era, is not simply based on an existing ecclesiastical chant.

Text and Translation

Beata viscera Marie virginis
cuius ad ubera rex magni nominis;
veste sub altera vim celans numinis
dictavit federa Dei et hominis

O mira novitas et novum gaudium,
matris integrita post puerperium.

Partum quem destruis, Iudea misera!
De quo nos argues, quem docet littera;
si nova respuis, crede vel vetera,
in hoc quem astruis Christum considera.

O mira novitas et novum gaudium,
matris integrita post puerperium.

Legis mosayce clausa misteria;
nux virge mystice nature nescia;
aqua de silice, columpna previa,
prolis dominice signa sunt propera.

O mira novitas et novum gaudium,
matris integrita post puerperium.

Solem, quem librere, Dum purus otitur
In aura cernere visus non patitur,
cernat a latere dum repercutitur,
alvus puerpere, qua totus clauditur.

O mira novitas et novum gaudium,
matris integrita post puerperium.

 
Blessed flesh of the Virgin Mary,
at whose breast the king of eminent name,
concealing, under altered guise,
the force of divine nature,
has sealed a pact of God and Man.

O astonishing novelty and unaccustomed joy
of a mother still pure after childbirth.

The birth which you destroy O wretched Judea!
Of him whom you denounce to us because he teaches the law;
if you refuse the new law then believe the old law,
in this One, whom you accuse, behold the Christ.

O astonishing novelty and unaccustomed joy
of a mother still pure after childbirth.

The mysteries of the Mosaic Law have been closed;
the fruit of the mystical rod is unknown to nature;
water from a stone, a column leading the way,
are early signs for the people of God.

O astonishing novelty and unaccustomed joy
of a mother still pure after childbirth.

Vision does not endure to behold in its radiance
the sun, unconcealed, as he rises forth, pure.
Let the wholly enclosed womb of the mother
behold from the side as it is reflected.

O astonishing novelty and unaccustomed joy
of a mother still pure after childbirth.

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