Halina, O Emmanuel

I remember being frustrated with the music that we sang at the first Simbang Gabi (the traditional Filipino Christmas Novena Masses) that I celebrated as a priest. I just couldn’t understand why we were singing a Filipino Christmas carol, “Ang Pasko ay sumapit” (literally, “Christmas has arrived”), nine days before Christmas. But I could not blame the music ministers; they knew as well as I did that there are no good Advent songs from the Philippines. I suppose that part of the problem comes from the fact that we never really get into an Advent mode back home. In the Philippines, Christmas songs are played as early as September, when the first of the “ber” months signal that “brrrr” chill in the air. The truth is that Filipinos do not anticipate the coming of Christmas in four weeks; they prepare for that Holy Day during those four “ber” months, all the while singing carols.

I resolved after Mass that night to have a true Advent hymn for our Simbang Gabi. I remembered seeing a 2007 Tagalog translation of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Victor Eclar Romero in magsimba.com but I was not satisfied with his version. I decided to look up the Latin original, “Veni, veni Emmanuel.” It is one of the most solemn Advent hymns, dating back to the 12th century. Its words, based on the great “O” antiphons for vespers during the octave before Christmas, can be traced as far back as the 9th century. Below are the Latin lyrics of “Veni, Veni Emmanuel.”

1. Veni, veni, Emmanuel captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio, privatus Dei Filio.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

2. Veni, O Sapientia, quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae ut doceas et gloriae.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

3. Veni, veni, Adonai, qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vértice in maiestate gloriae.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

4. Veni, O Iesse virgula, ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartarí educ et antro barathri.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

5. Veni, Clavis Davidica, regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum, et claude vias inferum.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

6. Veni, veni O Oriens, solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas, dirasque mortis tenebras.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

7. Veni, veni, Rex Gentium, veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos fámulos peccati sibi conscios.
Refrain: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!

Five of these verses (1, 3, 4, 5, and 6) were translated into English by the Anglican priest John Mason Neale (1818-1866). His translation was published in 1851 in his Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences and began with the words: “Draw nigh, draw nigh, Emmanuel.” Since then, Neale’s rendering has served as the basis for the “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” of our common memory, albeit with alterations on his original and the composite translation of the other two verses. Below is the version often found in most Catholic hymnals.

1. O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, who ord’rest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show, and teach us in her ways to go.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

3. O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times once gave the law in cloud and majesty and awe.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

4. O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem, from every foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty pow’r to save, and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

5. O come, Thou Key of David, come, and open wide our heav’nly home;
make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

6. O come, Thou Dayspring from on high and cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

7. O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid Thou our sad divisions cease, and be Thyself our Prince of Peace.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

This, I thought, was the quintessential Advent hymn that we needed for Simbang Gabi. I adapted the first three verses from the 2007 version of Victor Eclar Romero, and translated the rest. But I did not use Neale’s English version as my basic text; I translated the Latin original, “Veni, Veni Emmanuel” into Tagalog and referred to the “O” antiphons in Latin in rendering some of the more complicated passages. Below is my 2008 translation, titled “Halina, O Emmanuel.” Those interested in using it in their Simbang Gabi can also access the pdf copy here. I hope to continually review and revise this translation so that I might render as faithfully as possible the beauty of the original Latin in the melody of my Filipino tongue.

1. Halina, O Emmanuel, at tubusin ang Israel.
Namimighati siya’ng lubos, hinihintay Anak ng D’yos.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

2. Halina, O Karunungan, Tagapag-ayos ng tanan.
Sa landas ng katimpian kami’y turua’t gabayan.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

3. Halina, O Adonai na sa bundok ng Sinai
baya’y binigyan ng batas, gabay mula sa itaas.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

4. Halina, Tangkay ni Jesse, sa kaaway iligtas Mo kami.
Sa kuko ng Imp’yerno mga anak Mo’y ilayo.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

5. Halina, Susi ni David. Landas ng dusa’y ipinid.
Pinto ng Langit ay buksan; iyon ang nais naming tahanan.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

6. Halina, Bukang-liwayway, Ikaw ang Araw na tunay.
Itaboy ang dilim ng gabi. Sa kamataya’y iligtas kami.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

7. Halina, Hari ng mga bansa, mga alagad Iyong iadya.
Manunubos, patawarin Mo kaming nagkasala sa ‘Yo.
Refrain: Magdiwang na! Emmanuel ay darating, O Israel!

The Filipino Catholic community in the Diocese of Lexington has been singing this Tagalog version since our Simbang Gabi in December 2008. My friend, Fr. Sunny Castillo of the Diocese of Joliet, recently recorded this version on youtube; the video is found below.

About these ads

~ by Fr. Noel F. Zamora on Sunday, November 28, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: