Se del tuo corpo - Vittoria Aleotti (c.1575-c.1620)

If today I look upon your body’s terrible image,

and think about the wicked and cruel torment
that you have borne for me hanging on the cross,
so that I may draw salvation from your sufferings,
why is it that my cold heart is not rekindled,

while now it burns with vain love’s flame?
But, alas, a blind soul cannot understand what helps and harms it.

But you, Lord, who see how encumbered with error
my mind is, and how dim its vision, shed light onto my dark shadows,
and if your brightness will guide me, I hope, repentant of my ill-spent years,
to return unto you, and unto you deliver my cares. 

Coenantibus autem illis - Juan de Lienas (fl.1617-1654)

While they were eating,
Jesus took the bread,
Blessed it and gave it to his disciples:
"Take and eat, for this is my body."

Heu me Domine - Vicente Lusitano (c.1520-c.1561)

Alas, Lord, I have sinned greatly in the course of my life:
What should I, poor wretch, do?

In whom should I find refuge if not in you, my God?

Free me, Lord, from eternal death on the awful day;
When Heaven and earth move.

O virtus sapientiae - Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)

O strength of Wisdom who, circling, circled,
enclosing all in one lifegiving path,

three wings you have:
one soars to the heights,
one distils its essence upon the earth,
and the third is everywhere.
Praise to you, as is fitting,
O Wisdom.

Qu'es de ti, desconsolado? - Juan del Encina (1468-1529)

What has become of you, bereaved one?
What has become of you, Granada's king?
What has become of your land and your Moors?
Where now is the place of your dwelling?

Turn your allegiance, good king,
To our sacred law,
For although you have lost your kingdom,
Your soul you may thus restore.

Hymn of Kassiani - Abbess Kassia (810-865)

Lord, when the woman who had fallen into many sins perceived Your divinity, she assumed the role of a myrrh-bearing woman, and lamenting brought fragrant oils to anoint You before Your burial. 

Woe is me, she says. Night for me is a frenzy without restraint, very dark and moonless, a sinful love-affair. Accept the fountains of my tears, You who draw out from the clouds the water of the sea. Take pity on me, and incline to the sighing of my heart, You who bowed the heavens by Your ineffable self-emptying. 


I shall cover Your unstained feet with kisses, and wipe them dry again with the locks of my hair; those feet, whose sound at twilight in Paradise echoed in Eve's ears, and she hid in fear. 

Who can reckon the multitude of my sins, or fathom the depths of Your judgments, O my life-saving Savior? 

Do not despise me, Your servant, since without measure is Your mercy.

Hanacpachap cussicuinin - Attributed to Juan Pérez Bocanegra (died 1645)

Heaven's joy!
a thousand times shall we praise you.
O tree bearing thrice-blessed fruit,
O hope of humankind,
helper of the weak.
hear our prayer!

Attend to our pleas,
O column of ivory, Mother of God!
Beautiful iris, yellow and white,
receive this song we offer you;
come to our assistance,
show us the Fruit of your womb!

Il vostro dipartir - Maddalena Casulana (c.1544-c.1590)

Your departure, lady, leaves my life insipid
And my hope for you is so unsure, my dearest,
That I aspire to nothing less
Than your soul, the only virtue in the world.
And fear brings tears repeatedly to my eyes
As if they were two streams of bitter tears.

Xicochi conetzintle - Gaspar Fernandes (c.1565-1629)

Gently sleep, little Child.
Cry no more, for the angels are here.

Circumdederunt me dolores mortis - Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (c.1590-1664)

The sorrows of death have compassed me: and the perils of hell have found me.
In my trouble, I called upon the name of the Lord and cried out to my God.




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© 2016 by Helios. Photography by Leland Gebhardt.