Hail thee, Festival Day

Hail thee, Festival Day. Venantius Fortunatus* (ca.540-early 7th century), translated by George Gabriel Scott Gillett* (1873-1948). The origins of this hymn are in a poem, or verse epistle, by Fortunatus, addressed to Felix, Bishop of Nantes (d. 582), beginning ‘Tempora florigero rutilant distincta sereno’. It is a poem of nature in spring welcoming the risen Saviour. A section of the poem (No 9 in Book III of Fortunatus’ poems) begins Salve festa dies toto venerabilis aevo qua Deus infernum vicit et astra tenet. Hail, Festival day, worthy of veneration in every age, on which God conquered hell and secured the skies. This extract came into widespread use as a processional hymn in the...

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