It was written by Jean Tisserand, O.F.M. (d. 1494), an eloquent preacher, and originally comprised but nine stanzas (those commencing with "Discipulis adstantibus", "Postquam audivit Didymus", "Beati qui non viderunt" being early additions to the hymn ). "L'aleluya du jour de Pasques" is a trope on the versicle and response (closing Lauds and Vespers ) which it prettily enshrines in the last two stanzas:In hoc festo sanctissimo
The hymn is still very popular in France, whence it has spread to other countries. Guéranger's Liturgical Year (Paschal Time, Part I, tr., Dublin, 1871, pp. 190-192) entitles it "The Joyful Canticle " and gives Latin text with English prose translation, with a triple Alleluia preceding and following the hymn. As given in hymnals, however, this triple Alleluia is sung also between the stanzas (see "The Roman Hymnal", New York, 1884, p. 200). In Lalanne, "Recueil d'anciens et de nouveaux cantiques notés" (Paris, 1886, p. 223) greater particularity is indicated in the distribution of the stanzas and of the Alleluias. The triple Alleluia is sung by one voice, is repeated by the choir, and the solo takes up the first stanza with its Alleluia. The choir then sings the triple Alleluia, the second stanza with its Alleluia, and repeats the triple Alleluia. The alternation of solo and chorus thus continues, until the last stanza with its Alleluia, followed by the triple Alleluia, is sung by one voice. "It is scarcely possible for any one, not acquainted with the melody, to imagine the jubilant effect of the triumphant Alleluia attached to apparently less important circumstances of the Resurrection : e.g. St. Peter's being oustripped by St. John. It seems to speak of the majesty of that event, the smallest portions of which are worthy to be so chronicled" (Neale, "Medieval Hymns and Sequences", 3rd ed., p. 163). The rhythm of the hymn is that of number and not of accent or of classical quantity. The melody to which it is sung can scarcely be divorced from the modern lilt of triple time. As a result, there is to English ears a very frequent conflict between the accent of the Latin words and the real, however unintentional, stress of the melody: e.g.: Et Máriá Magdálená, Sed Jóannés Apóstol&ús, Ad sépulchr&úm venít pri&ús, etc. A number of hymnals give the melody in plain-song notation, and (theoretically, at least) this would permit the accented syllables of the Latin text to receive an appropriate stress of the voice. Commonly, however, the hymnals adopt the modern triple time (e.g., the "Nord-Sterns Führers zur Seeligkeit", 1671; the "Roman Hymnal", 1884; "Hymns Ancient and Modern", rev. ed.). Perhaps it was this conflict of stress and word-accent that led Neale to speak of the "rude simplicity" of the poem and to ascribe the hymn to the twelfth century in the Contents-page of his volume (although the note prefixed to his own translation assigns the hymn to the thirteenth century). Migne, "Dict. de Liturgie" (s. v. Pâques, 959) also declares it to be very ancient. It is only very recently that its authorship has been discovered, the "Dict. of Hymnology" (2nd ed., 1907) tracing it back only to the year 1659, although Shipley ("Annus Sanctus", London, 1884, p. xxiii) found it in a Roman Processional of the sixteenth century.
The hymn is assigned in the various French Paroissiens to the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, on Easter Sunday. There are several translations into English verse by non-Catholics. The Catholic translations comprise one by an anonymous author in the "Evening Office", 1748 ("Young men and maids, rejoice and sing"), Father Caswall's "Ye sons and daughters of the Lord" and Charles Kent's "O maids and striplings, hear love's story", all three being given in Shipley, "Annus Sanctus". The Latin texts vary both in the arrangement and the wording of the stanzas; and the plain-song and modernized settings also vary not a little.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online