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Anonymous

before 850

Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse. F.J.E. Raby, ed. (Oxford 1959), No. 85.

The following verses make up an early sequence, a song performed during the Mass, that followed the Alleluia, between the Epistle and the Gospel. The following sequence would have been sung on the tenth Sunday after Whitsun, when the subject in the Gospel reading is "de publicano." Raby comments that the rhymes and assonances in 'a' suggest a French origin.

Stans a longe,
qui plurima
perpetrarat facinora,

Atque sua
revolvens secum crimina

Nolebat alta
contemplari
caeli sidera,

Sed pectus tundens
haec promebat
ore lacrimans:

'Deus, propitius
mihi peccatori esto

Et mea omnia
pius dele facinora.'

Hac voce
benignam promeruit
clementiam,

Necnon et
iustificatus venit
domum suam.

Cuius nos sacra
sectantes exempla
dicamus Deo:

'Deus benigne,
nostri miserere,
laxans debita

Mitis et nos iustifica.'


Study Questions

1. "Sectantes" is a frequentative form of what verb? How do the two verbs differ in meaning?

2. This sequence is based on the following passage from the Gospel according to Luke (18.13-14).

et publicanus a longe stans
nolebat nec oculos ad caelum levare
sed percutiebat pectus suum dicens
'Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.'
dico vobis
descendit hic iustificatus in domum suam ab illo
Quia omnis qui se exaltat humiliabitur
et qui se humiliat exaltabitur.

(Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem, R. Weber, ed., 3rd ed., rev'd, Stuttgart, 1983).

How has the Vulgate material been revised and amplified by the author of the sequence and to what effect? How does the sequence go beyond the biblical matter and in what directions?

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