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Æterne Rex altissime

Eternal Monarch, King most High

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Æterne Rex altissime,
    Redemptor et fidelium,
    Cui mors perempta detulti
    Summæ triumphum gloriæ.
  2. Ascendis orbes siderum,
    Quo te vocabat cœlitus
    Collata, non humantius,
    Rerum potestas omnium.
  3. Ut trina rerum machina,
    Cœlestium, terrestrium,
    Et inferorum condita,
    Flectat genu jam subdita.
  4. Tremunt videntes Angeli
    Versam vicem mortalium:
    Peccat caro, mundat caro,
    Regnat Deus Dei caro.
  5. Sis ipse nostrum gaudium,
    Manens olympo præmium,
    Mundi regis qui fabricam,
    Mundana vincens gaudia.
  6. Hinc te precantes quæsumus,
    Ignosce culpis omnibus,
    Et corda sursum subleva
    Ad te superna gratia.
  7. Ut cum repente cœperis
    Clarere nube judicis,
    Pœnas repellas debitas,
    Reddas coronas perditas.
  8. Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
    Qui victor in cœlum redis,
    Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
    In sempiterna sæcula.
  1. Eternal Monarch, King most High,
    Whose Blood hath brought redemption nigh,
    By whom the death of Death was wrought,
    And conquering grace’s battle fought:
  2. Ascending by the starry road,
    This day Thou wentest home to God,
    By Heaven to power unending called,
    And by no human hand installed.
  3. That so, in nature’s triple frame,
    Each heavenly and each earthly name,
    And things in hell’s abyss abhorred,
    May bend the knee and own Him Lord.
  4. Yes, Angels tremble when they see
    How changed is our humanity;
    That Flesh hath purged what flesh had stained,
    And God, the flesh of God, hath reigned.
  5. Be Thou our joy, O might Lord,
    As Thou wilt be our great reward;
    Earth’s joys to Thee are nothing worth,
    Thou joy and crown of heaven and earth.
  6. To Thee we therefore humbly pray
    That Thou wouldst purge our sins away,
    And draw our hearts by cords of grace
    To Thy celestial dwelling-place.
  7. So when the Judgment day shall come,
    And all must rise to meet their doom,
    Thou wilt remit the debts we owe,
    And our lost crowns again bestow.
  8. All glory, Lord, to Thee we pay,
    Ascending o’er the stars to-day;
    All glory, as is ever meet;
    To Father and to Paraclete.
Author: Ambrosian, 5th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by J. M. Neale and others. There are fifteen translations. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins from Ascension to Pentecost.
  1. “O eternal and sovereign King, and Redeemer of the faithful, to whom the annihilation of death brought a triumph of the greatest glory:”
  2. “Thou didst ascend above the orbits of the stars, whither the sovereignty over all things summoned Thee, which sovereignty was given Thee from heaven, not by men.” Cœlitus, adv. from above, by the Father. Data est mihi omnis potestas in cœlo et in terra (Matt. 28, 18).
  3. “So that the threefold fabric of the universe, creatures (condita) of heaven, of earth, and of hell, may now in submission bend the knee to Thee.” Condita = creata. Machina, order structure, fabric, kingdom. Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur cœlestium, terrestrium, et infernorum (Phil. 2, 10).
  4. “The Angels tremble, beholding the altered lot of mortals: flesh sinned, Flesh cleanses from sin, the God-Man reigns as God.” Dei caro: lit., “the flesh of God reigns as God.” Vicem, lot, estate, condition; versam, changed, reversed.
  5. “Be Thou Thyself our joy, our abiding reward in heaven, Thou who, surpassing all earthly joys, dost rule over the fabric of the universe.”
  6. “Therefore, praying we beseech Thee, pardon all our sins, and by Thy heavenly grace raise aloft our hearts to Thee.”
  7. “That when Thou dost unexpectedly begin to shine in splendor on a cloud as judge, Thou mayest remit the punishments due, and restore our lost crowns.” Et tunc videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nube cum potestate magna, et majestate (Luke 21, 27).