Hail thee, festival day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.
Lo! in the likeness of fire,
on them that await his appearing,
he whom the Lord foretold,
suddenly, swiftly, descends.
Forth from the Father he comes
with his sevenfold mystical dowry,
pouring on human souls
infinite riches of God.
Hark! in a hundred tongues
Christ’s own, his chosen Apostles,
preach to a hundred tribes
Christ and his wonderful works.
Praise to the Spirit of life,
all praise to the Fount of our being,
light that dost lighten all,
life that in all dost abide.
God, who art giver of all
good gifts and lover of concord,
pour thy balm on our souls,
order our ways in thy peace.
God Almighty, who fillest
the heaven, the earth and the ocean,
guard us from harm without,
cleanse us from evil within.
Kindle our lips with his live bright coal
from the hands of the Seraph;
shine in our minds with thy light;
burn in our hearts with thy love.
Words: St. Venantius Honorius Fortunatus (530-609); tr. Maurice F. Bell for The English Hymnal, 1906.
Music: “Salve Festa Dies” Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906.
Here is the original Latin text:
Salve festa dies, toto venerabilis ævo,
Qua Deus de cælo gratia fulsit humo.
Spiritus ecce Deus privatoque quo eius
Ignis adest specie discipulis hodie.
Mentibus humanis infudit opes deitatis,
A Patre procedens mystica dona ferens.
Non cessat variis Christi magnalia linguis
Plebs benedicta loquens gentibus omnigenis.
Laus tibi, vitæ pneuma sacrum, fons, lux animarum,
Omnia vivificans semper et irradians.
Pax, Deus, omne bonum, dulcis concordia morum,
Reple corda tuo munere mellifluo.
Poscimus, omnipotens, mare, terras, sidera replens,
Nos tibi purifica, protege, vivifica.
Nostra pie tangat seraphin carbunculus ora,
Ut mens perpetuo flagret amore tuo.