“Welcome, happy morning!” age to age shall say #179

# 179  “Welcome, happy morning!” age to age shall say


Words:  Venantius Honorius Fortunatus

Music: Fortunatus, Arthur Seymour Sullivan


This is one of my favorite Easter hymns. The author of the text, Venantius Fortunatus, also wrote the text for # 175, Hail thee, festival day, another popular hymn during the Easter season. Fortunatus was born between 530 and 540 AD at Duplavis near Treviso in Venetia, Italy.  He grew up during the Roman reconquest of Italy, but there is controversy concerning where Fortunatus spent his childhood. Sometime in the 550s or 60s, he travelled to Ravenna to study. While there, he was given a classical education, in the Roman style. His later work shows familiarity with not only classical Latin poets such as Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Statius, and Martial, but also Christian poets, including Arator, Claudian, and Coelius Sedulius, and bears their influence. In addition, Fortunatus likely had some knowledge of the Greek language and the classical Greek writers and philosophers, as he makes reference to them and Greek words at times throughout his poetry and prose.

Fortunatus traveled extensively in his life.  Sometime around 576, he was ordained into the church while living in Poitiers.  He stayed there until around the year 599-600, when he was appointed Bishop of Poitiers, to replace Plato, Bishop of Poitiers. Fortunatus died in the early 7th century. He was called a saint after his death, but was never formally canonized.

Fortunatus is best known for two poems that have become part of the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Pange lingua gloriosi proelium certaminis ("Sing, O tongue, of the glorious struggle"), a hymn that later inspired St Thomas Aquinas's Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium.

Several of his hymn texts are used extensively in the Hymnal 1982, including this one with a tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900) was an English composer. He is best known for 14 operatic collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. His works include 24 operas, 11 major orchestral works, ten choral works and oratorios, two ballets, incidental music to several plays, and numerous church pieces, songs, and piano and chamber pieces. His hymns and songs include "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and "The Lost Chord". In our hymnal you will find a number of his tunes, including the Easter Hymn “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain.” 

Enjoy the St. Bartholomew’s Church congregation and organ. YOUTUBE