Finita iam sunt proelia

Finita iam sunt proelia. Latin, of unknown origin. This Latin hymn (‘Now the battle is over’) is found in a German Jesuit collection, Symphonia Sirenum Selectarum (Cologne, 1695), although it may be of a much earlier date. As the Companion to RS (1999) points out, ‘it has the crisp, rough flavour of a characteristically mediaeval view of the Resurrection, seen as the victory of Jesus after a battle in which the Underworld had tried in vain to imprison him’ (pp. 320-1). It is an Easter hymn, originally beginning ‘Alleluia! Alleluia!’. There have been two notable translations: by John Mason Neale*, beginning ‘Finished is the battle now’, in his Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences (1851). Neale...

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