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A medieval patchwork song: poetry, prayer and music in a thirteenth-century conductus


Eight times a day, the prayer Deus in adiutorium meum intende sounded from the lips of the faithful as the standard introduction to the Office Hours. Infiltrating daily life through the liturgy and popular interjections, the psalm verse Deus in adiutorium served a devotional function marked by versatility and popularity. Yet, despite its omnipresence, as well as its inherently vocalic identity, the verse was only rarely troped musically or poetically. A collection of thirteenth-century monophonic and polyphonic tropes of the verse circulating in France in motet collections and festive offices represents one of the few moments of heightened musical interest in the prayer. This article draws attention, for the first time, to the musical and textual connection between these tropes and Pater creator omnium, a thirteenth-century refrain song. This monophonic song from France also belongs firmly to the medieval cento genre, with both its musical and textual construction based on the piecing together of borrowed text and music – including Deus in adiutorium. This article argues that Pater creator omnium stands at the intersection of two important yet understudied histories: the musical and textual troping of Deus in adiutorium and the medieval cento. Analysis of this song ultimately illustrates the creative processes behind the making of a pre-modern song.

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1 This discussion of the Book of Hours is indebted to Bennett, Adelaide, ‘A Woman's Power of Prayer versus the Devil in a Book of Hours of ca. 1300’, in Image and Belief: Studies in Celebration of the Eightieth Anniversary of the Index of Christian Art, ed. Hourihane, Colum (Princeton, NJ, 1999), 89102 .

2 Among the exceptions is Matins in secular uses, which generally began with the versicle Domine labia mea and its response Et os meum, followed by Deus in adiutorium. On secular Matins, see Harper, John, The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century: A Historical Introduction and Guide for Students and Musicians (Oxford, 1991), 8697 . Depending on the use, the Deus in adiutorium was omitted during the Triduum and Office of the Dead, and replaced during Easter week at Vespers with a repeated Kyrie. See Hiley, David, Western Plainchant: A Handbook (Oxford, 1993), 25 .

3 See Günther, Ursula, ‘Les versions polyphoniques du “Deus in adiutorium”’, Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 31 (1988), 111–22. For a complete list of manuscript sigla, see Table 1, note 28. I use the term ‘trope’ here and throughout to refer in the broadest sense to the poetic and musical expansion of a liturgical item, such as the versicle Deus in adiutorium, when it retains part or all of the original text and/or music, and – in some cases – its ritual function.

4 Surprisingly few conducti incorporate this versicle, especially in comparison with Benedicamus Domino, the concluding versicle of the Divine Office. Apart from the trope discussed here, an unnotated song in Evreux, Bibliothèque municipale latin 17, fol. 2r–v, from the twelfth century (likely of Anglo-Norman origin) takes its initial line and a half from the prayer (‘Deus in adiutorium/Meum intende, vitium’) (Analecta Hynmica 20:180). On the manuscript source for the song, see Helen Deeming, ‘Music in English Miscellanies of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries’ Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University (2005), 75–80, and ‘The Song and the Page: Experiments with Form and Layout in Manuscripts of Medieval Latin Song’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 15 (2006), 16–7. One other context is the conductus Qui seminant in loculis, in which the prayer is described as precipitous against the sins of the curia, including usury and hypocrisy. Transmitted in F, fols. 424v–425r and Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Add. A. 44, fol. 128v.

5 For an overview of repetition in Latin song specifically, see Caldwell, ‘Singing, Dancing, and Rejoicing in the Round’, 274–405.

6 The processes of repetition and reuse are exemplified in genres such as florilegia, sententiae, exemplae, excerptiones, excerpta, distinctiones and anthologia, which collect together fragments from other writings for the purpose of study, meditation and composition. For the process behind the use of such collections, see Parkes, Malcolm B., ‘The Influence of the Concepts of Ordinatio and Compilatio on the Development of the Book’, in Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays Presented to Richard William Hunt, ed. Alexander, Jonathan J. G. and Gibson, Margaret T. (Oxford, 1976), 115–41.

7 A list of early medieval references to ‘cento’ is included in Liu, Jinyu, Collegia Centonariorum: The Guilds of Textile Dealers in the Roman West (Leiden, 2009), 395–8. The references pertinent to poetry are in the writings of Tertullian, Ausonius and Isidore of Seville. Du Cange's Glossarium includes the verb ‘centonizare’, which cites its textual usage and includes Tertullian, among others. Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis, ed. Charles du Fresne du Cange (Niort, 1883), 2: col. 265a.

8 For the history and etymology of the term, see Belardi, Walter, ‘Nomi del centone nelle lingue indoeuropee’, Richerche linguistiche, 4 (1958), 2957 . The oft-cited cento written by fourth-century female poet Faltonia Betitia Proba, Cento vergilianus de laudibus Christi, is a central example of the Christianisation of the genre, while still using the secular writings of Virgil. Edited and translated in Clark, Elizabeth A. and Hatch, Diane F., eds., The Golden Bough, the Oaken Cross: The Virgilian Cento of Faltonia Betitia Proba (Chico, CA, 1981).

9 Edited and translated in McGill, Scott, Virgil Recomposed: The Mythological and Secular Centos in Antiquity (New York, 2005), 13 . This passage occurs in an explanatory letter to Axius Paulus that precedes Ausonius's Cento Nuptialis. Ausonius's prescriptive outline of the cento genre is governed, however, by the definition of the cento as constructed from Classical sources, meaning certain poetic rules do not necessarily apply to later medieval centos. Bayless, Martha, Parody in the Middle Ages: The Latin Tradition (Ann Arbor, MI, 1996), 130 .

10 Although some scholars have failed to note the continued popularity of centonate forms in the Middle Ages, the genre was cultivated by a number of poets, including, for example, Gower, John. Yeager, Robert F., ‘Did Gower Write Cento?’, in John Gower: Recent Readings. Papers Presented at the Meetings of the John Gower Society at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, 1983–1988, ed. Yeager, Robert F. (Kalamazoo, 1989), 113–32, at 123. In addition, Bayless provides an overview of centos, especially humorous ones, in the Latin Middle Ages, in Parody, 129–76.

11 Ferretti, Paolo Maria, Estetica gregoriana ossia Trattato delle forme musicali del canto gregoriano, 1 (Rome, 1934), 114–31.

12 Treitler, Leo, ‘“Centonate Chant”: Übles Flickwerk or E pluribus unus?’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 28 (1975), 123 . A brief summary of the issues surrounding centonisation in music is found in Everist, Mark, ‘The Refrain Cento: Myth or Motet?’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 114 (1989), 164–88, at 167–8.

13 The cento is one among many terms drawn on to describe citational practices in musical repertories. Pastiche, quodlibet, parody, bricolage, entée or grafted, sampling, allusion, citation, reworking – these and other terms are used to describe and define musical works that integrate or are built from pre-existing text and music. In the context of this article, ‘cento’ is preferred to describe the construction of Pater creator omnium over any of the other related terms due to the particular nature of its wholesale construction from pre-existing materials, as well as its striking parallels to, and participation in, the Christian cento tradition.

14 Everist, Mark, French Motets in the Thirteenth Century: Music, Poetry and Genre (Cambridge, 1994), 109–25; Evans, Beverly J., ‘The Textual Function of the Refrain Cento in a Thirteenth-Century French Motet’, Music and Letters, 71 (1990), 187–97. This winnowing of the repertory is critiqued briefly in Butterfield, Ardis, ‘“Enté”: A Survey and Reassessment of the Term in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Music and Poetry’, Early Music History, 22 (2003), 67101 , at 83.

15 Specifically, as Everist notes (‘Refrain Cento’, 188), ‘the links between [the refrain cento] and literary models from late antiquity and the early Middle Ages are unjustifiable’, meaning there is little in common between the conventional poetic use of the term and the technique of refrain citation in motets. In terms of this disjunction, Butterfield notes that ‘centonisation in the motets is not quite part of the wittily maverick and self-enclosed high tradition of the Classical cento, but rather an extension in extremis of an intense thirteenth-century fascination with creating aggregate structures of small independent citations in a wide range of formal realisations’. Butterfield, Ardis, Poetry and Music in Medieval France: From Jean Renart to Guillaume de Machaut (Cambridge, 2002), 232 .

16 The database Cantum pulcriorem invenire: Thirteenth-Century Music and Poetry (hereafter CPI), by Mark Everist and Gregorio Bevilacqua ( catalogues extant conductus c.1170–1320.

17 No one source catalogues all surviving medieval centos; for an overview, see Delepierre, Octave, Tableau de la litérature du centon chez les anciens et chez les modernes, 2 vols. (London, 1874–75).

18 Although Anderson's catalogue of conducti is both incomplete and has been superseded by the CPI database, it still offers valuable perspective on borrowing in the Latin poetry. See Anderson, Gordon A., ed., Notre-Dame and Related Conductus: Opera Omnia, 9 vols. (Henryville, PA), 1979–.

19 On the relationship between conducti and clausulae, see Bukofzer, Manfred, ‘Interrelations Between Conductus and Clausula’, Annales musicologiques, 1 (1953), 65103 .

20 For an examination of hymn and sequence reworkings in the conductus repertory, see Caldwell, ‘Singing, Dancing, and Rejoicing’, 348–403.

21 Transmitted in F, fols. 225v–226r, W1, fols. 117r–v (108r–v), ORawl, fols. 244r–v (15r–v). Text and music edited in Anderson, ed., 2pt Conductus in the Central Sources. Vol. 4: Notre-Dame and Related Conductus: Opera Omnia (Henryville, PA), xiii and 21–3.

22 The existence of centonate conductus, not to mention evidence from music theorists, argue against the genre being primarily ‘newly composed’. Although prevailing narratives of music history emphasise the ‘newly composed’ conductus (in contrast to genres such as organum and the motet, which explicitly reuse and borrow material), many textual, musical and formal links can be found between conductus and contemporaneous genres. Walter of Evesham, for example, defines the conductus as ‘composed out of several beautiful melodies, known or invented’(‘Conducti sunt compositi ex pluribus canticis decoris cognitis vel inventis’). Walter Odington, Summa de speculatione musicae, ed. Frederick F. Hammond, Corpus scriptorum de musica 14 ([Rome], 1970), 142; English translation adapted from Ronald Edwin Voogt, ‘Repetition and Structure in the Three- and Four-Part Conductus of the Notre Dame School’ (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1982), 4. Similar statements can be found in Franco of Cologne's Ars cantus mensurabilis, ed. Gilbert Reaney and André Gilles, Corpus scriptorum de musica 18 ([Rome], 1974), 69, 73–4; Johannes de Grocheo's De musica, ed. and trans. in Christopher Page, ‘Johannes de Grocheio on Secular Music: A Corrected Text and a New Translation’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 2 (1993), 17–41, at 37–9. My thanks to the anonymous reader who pointed out that these comments regarding the ‘newly composed’ conductus refer principally to polyphonic, not monophonic, works.

23 One such work is the two-voice conductus Hac in die rege nato. As Anonymous IV observes, it is a conductus ‘in quo continentur nomina plurium conductorum’. Reckow, Fritz, ed., Der Musiktraktat des Anonymus 4, Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 4 (Wiesbaden, 1967), 82 . Of the twenty-six lines in the conductus, twenty are identifiable as belonging to other polyphonic conductus; the remaining unidentified lines are likely incipits of now lost conducti. See Anderson, 2pt Conductus, xxxv.

24 As Everist notes (‘Refrain Cento’, 168, note 4), the compositional processes behind the conductus share ‘characteristics of the literary cento in that the resultant text makes reasonably coherent sense, but it is different in that it draws on its own repertory, in an intertextual sense, rather than on some sort of classic body of material’.

25 It is identified as such in Anderson, ed., 1pt Conductus–Transmitted in Fascicle X of the Florence Manuscript. Vol. 6: Notre-Dame and Related Conductus: Opera Omnia (Henryville, PA), xxiv, note 1. Rudolf Meyer calls Pater creator omnium a ‘Lateinische Cento’ in his early work on motets containing refrains, ‘Die in unseren Motetten enthaltenen Refrains’, in Die altfranzösischen Motette der Bamberger Handschrift, nebst einem Anhang, enthaltend altfranzösische Motette aus anderen deutschen Handschriften, ed. Albert Stimming (Dresden, 1906), 141–84, at 176.

26 The eleventh fascicle is edited in Anderson, ed., 1pt Conductus–The Latin Rondeau Répertoire. Vol. 8: Notre-Dame and Related Conductus: Opera Omnia (Henryville, PA, 1979); Tischler, Hans, Conductus and Contrafacta, Musicological Studies 75 (Ottawa, 2001), 307–22; Yvonne Rokseth, ‘Danses cléricales du XIIIe siècle’, in Mélanges 1945 des Publications de la Faculté des Lettres de Strasbourg (Paris, 1947), 93–126, at 120–6.

27 This is the standard layout for Latin refrain songs, as well as hymns, throughout the Middle Ages. On hymn layout, see Boynton, Susan, ‘Orality, Literacy, and the Early Notation of the Office Hymns’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 56 (2003), 99168 , at 132–5.




Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Lit.115


Darmstadt, Universitäts– und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt 3471


Florence, Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Pluteus 29.1

fr. 146

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, français 146


Burgos, Monasterio de Las Huelgas

Laon 263

Laon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 263

Le Puy A

Grenoble, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 4413

Le Puy B

Le Puy-en-Velay, Bibliothèque du Grand Séminaire, AV7 009


London, British Library, Egerton 2615


Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS 20486


Montpellier, Bibliothèque Inter-Universitaire, Section Médecine, H196


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C510

Paris 1351

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, latin 1351

Sens 46

Sens, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 46

St-M A

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, latin 1139

St-M D

London, British Library, Add. 36881


Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek MS HB. I asc. 95


Turin, Biblioteca Reale Vari 42


Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Helmstedt 628


Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Helmstedt 1099



Analecta hymnica medii aevi. 55 vols. Ed. Guido Maria Dreves and Clemens Blume. Leipzig, 1886–1922


Chevalier, Ulysse. Repertorium hymnologicum. 6 vols. Brussels, 1920–1


Daniel, Hermann Adalbert. Thesaurus hymnologicus sive Hymnorum, canticorum, sequentiarum circa annum MD usitatarum collectio amplissima. Halis: E. Anton, 1841–56

29 Anderson indicates the following sources for lines 5 and 6, but these seem to be misidentifications: ‘hymn, Daniel 1:292 and Conductus K14’. Neither of these identifies the original biblical or liturgical sources (likely due to a typo in the case of Daniel 1:292). The conductus is actually K15 (Dum medium silentium / Tenerent) in Anderson's catalogue, attributed to Walter of Châtillon, and the hymn is, according to TH1: 292, for St Louis. The two monophonic conductus that begin with Dum medium silentium both have refrains; see Anderson, Gordon A., ‘Notre Dame and Related Conductus: A Catalogue Raisonné’, Miscellanea musicologica vi–vii (1972–3): no.1, 190–1. Edited and translated in Anderson, 1pt Conductus-Fascicle X, xxiv–xxvi.

30 A search in the AH reveals at least twenty-six separate occurrences of ‘vergente mundi vespere’ in texts beginning in the tenth century.

31 As with ‘vergente mundi vespere’, the incipit ‘Iam lucis orto sidere’ is cited dozens of times in medieval song. Most notably, the same fascicle in F transmitting Pater creator omnium also preserves the hymn Iam lucis orto sidere (fol. 470v) interpolated with a two-part poetic and musical refrain (‘Fulget dies’ and ‘Fulget dies ista’). Unlike Pater creator omnium, this somewhat anomalous work is a setting of the hymn itself with an added refrain, as opposed to being a centonate work constructed out of multiple sources. On this hymn, see Caldwell, ‘Singing, Dancing, and Rejoicing’, 608–28.

32 For example, the song Decet vox letitie (F, fol. 463r) is concordant with both a French motetus and an earlier versus with a refrain: Tout leis enmi/DO[MINUS] (W2, fol. 247v–248r) and Ave mater salvatoris (St-M D, fol. 16v). See Gaël Saint-Cricq, ‘Formes types dans le motet du XIIIe siècle: étude d'un processus répétitif’ (Ph.D. diss., University of Southampton, 2 vols., 2009), 1: 155–6.

33 Examples of refrain song repertories explicitly involving contrafacture include the Irish Red Book of Ossory, the St. Victor Miscellany (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, latin 15131), and the Ludus super Anticlaudianum of Adam de la Bassée.

34 The seminal work on the Benedicamus Domino versicle illustrating its melodic sources is Robertson, Anne Walters, ‘Benedicamus Domino: The Unwritten Tradition’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 41 (1988), 162 .

35 Among the monophonic sources for the Deus in adiutorium trope, St-M A is actually an example of successively notated polyphony. The version in Stuttg, fol. 46r, concludes somewhat bizarrely by means of another Office verse, Benedicamus Domino; the version in CH-EN 102, fol. 12v concludes similarly. See Arlt, Wulf, ‘Einstimmige Lieder des 12. Jahrhunderts und Mehrstimmiges in französischen Handschriften des 16. Jahrhunderts aus Le Puy’, Schweizer Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, 3 (1978), 747 , at 13. According to the CPI database, at least one other source transmits the trope but is now lost: F-TOm 1299, fol. 24v. I have also been unable to confirm the placement of the trope in the Office of Circumcision in Le Puy B, although Arlt lists it as fols. 47v–48r and 80r–v (for Prime and Compline).

36 Indications for the verse's performance in the liturgy typically name a priest or, for high feasts, bishop. See, for example, the rubrics indicating its performance by the ‘sacerdos’ throughout the thirteenth-century ordinal for the cathedral of Laon, the same source as one of the extant versions of Deus in adiutorium cited in Table 2: Chevalier, Ulysse, Ordinaires de l’église cathédrale de Laon (XIIe et XIIIe siècles): suivis de deux mystères liturgiques (Paris, 1897), 6 , 8, 16 and passim.

37 Edited and translated (with a minor emendation here) in Tischler, ed., The Montpellier Codex. Pt. 4: Recent Researches in the Music of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance 8 (Madison, WI, 1985), 1 and 103, the latter with different ordering of the strophes.

38 The two polyphonic settings of the Deus in adiutorium trope are similar poetically, not musically. The trope musically unrelated to the monophonic settings discussed here is transmitted in Mo, fol. 350r; Tu, fol. 4v; Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, Inc. B 65, fol. 2e plat; Bibliothèque Royal, MS 19606 (‘Brussels rotulus’), recto. The melodic incipit is the same as the conductus, Parce virgo spes reorum, also in Tu, fols. 1r–4r. On the tradition of beginning motet collections with Deus in adiutorium, see Everist, French Motets, 9–10. An unnotated – and seemingly unnoticed – context in which the liturgical verse introduces a motet is the Miracles de Nostre Dame par personnages, a collection of fourteenth-century vernacular religious dramas produced by a Parisian confraternity. During the tenth miracle, the Virgin appears to a bishop in a dramatised Matins beginning with the bishop intoning Domine labia mea and Deus in adiutorium and their responses. Immediately following Deus in adiutorium, a marginal note reads: ‘Cy chantent un motet’. Transmitted in F-Pn fr. 819, fol. 105r, and edited in Paris, Gaston and Robert, Ulysse, Miracles de Nostre Dame par personnages, publiés d'après le manuscrit de la bibliothèque nationale (Paris, 1877), 2 : 74–5.

39 See note 33.

40 Two manuscripts preserve the Liber Hymnorum: Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS 1441, and Dublin, University College, MS Franciscan A 2. The hymn is edited in Bernard, John Henry and Atkinson, Robert, ed., The Irish Liber Hymnorum (London, 1898), 1: 84–5. In the Liber Hymnorum, the first strophe and refrain prefigure later versions of the trope: ‘Deus, in adiutorium / Intende laborantium, / Ad dolorum remedium / Festina in auxilium.’ The poem's copying in the Liber Hymnorum is roughly contemporaneous with the section of St-M A in which the trope is preserved. In one of the most recent considerations of the polyphonic trope, Emma Dillon misleadingly identifies Mo as the earliest source for the text of this trope: The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260–1330 (New York, 2012), 308.

41 For full editions of the trope in Mo, Laon 263, LoA and Sens 46, see, respectively, Tischler, Montpellier Codex, pt. 1, no. 1; Robert Charles Lagueux, ‘Glossing Christmas: Liturgy, Music, Exegesis, and Drama in High Medieval Laon’ Ph.D. diss., Yale University (2004), 573; Arlt, Wulf, Ein Festoffizium des Mittelalters aus Beauvais in seiner liturgischen und musikalischen Bedeutung, 2 vols. (Köln, 1970), 2: 139; Villetard, Henri, Office de Pierre de Corbeil (Office de la Circoncision) improprement appelé ‘Office des fous’ (Paris, 1907), 131 . Excluded from Table 2 are the neumed versions in Stuttg, fol. 48r, which combines both the opening and closing versicles of the Divine Hours, and CH-EN 102, fol. 12v. Le Puy B, a copy of the Office of the Circumcision contemporary with Le Puy A, and the earliest source for the poetic trope St-M A are also not included, the former due to its unavailability and the latter since it is the most distant melodically.

42 The other notable alteration is the addition of the word ‘venit’, ‘he is coming’, and the consequential change of ‘intende’ to ‘intendere’. The effect is twofold: first, the syllable count, rhyme scheme and accent become consistent with the remainder of the poem (eight-syllable, proparoxytonic lines); and second, the verb moves from the singular imperative, ‘intende’, to the third person singular perfect active ‘venit’ combined with the infinitive ‘intendere’. In other words, the intensity of the imperative prayer is lessened in the reworking, although the incipit remains identical.

43 Frere, Walter, ed., The Use of Sarum I. The Sarum Customs as Set Forth in the Consuetudinary and Customary (Cambridge, 1898), 153 . The versicle Deus in adiutorium is sung at Compline with ‘nostrum’ on the Octave of Easter.

44 Meconi, David Vincent, ‘The Christian Cento and the Evangelization of Christian Culture’, Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, 7 (2004), 109–32, at 123. As Bayless observes, a cento and its sources also provide evidence of an audience that will readily recognise borrowed works (Parody, 129).

45 For brief overviews of the liturgical verse, see Leclercq, Henri, ‘1. Deus in adjutorium’, in Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. Cabrol, Fernand (Paris, 1920), 697–8; Fernand Cabrol, ‘2. Deus in adjutorium’, in Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. Cabrol, 698–9.

46 Cited in chapters 17–18 of The Rule of Saint Benedict, trans. Bruce L. Venarde (Cambridge, MA, 2011), 80–9. In chapter 35, Benedict also includes a mention of the prayer being required of kitchen servers upon beginning their weekly duties. Ibid., 126–9.

47 Concordia regularum, ed. Pierre Bonnerue, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis 168A (Turnhout, 1999), 249 and 368.

48 De ecclesiasticis officiis, Patrologia Latina 105, cols. 1167a and 1171c.

49 Summa de ecclesiasticis officiis, ed. Douteil, Heriberto, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis 41A (Turnhout, 1976), 50 and 187.

50 Rationale, ed. Davril, Anselme and Thibodeau, Timothy M., Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis 140 and 140A (Turnhout, 1995–8), book 5, passim.

51 Hughes, Andrew, Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to their Organization and Terminology (Toronto, 1982), 53 : ‘That the versicle Deus in adiutorium and its response were said before each of the hours was apparently so much taken for granted that a statement to that effect is difficult to find.’

52 Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos, Patrologia Latina 36, col. 867. English translation in Expositions of the Psalms, 51–72, vol. III/17, trans. Maria Boulding, ed. John E. Rotelle (Hyde Park, NY, 2001), 401–2.

53 Durand, Rationale, bk 5, ch. 2: ‘Cum enim persecutio iusti sit a leone, id est a dyabolo, impetu, id est manifeste seuiente; uel a dracone, id est a dyabolo, insidiis, id est occulte persequente: omnes clament: “Deus in adiutorium meum intende.”’

54 Edited and translated in Walker, George S. M., ed., Sancti Columbani Opera (Dublin, 1970; repr. 1970), 158–9. The excerpt was silently recited three times.

55 See Noffke, Suzanne, ed., The Prayers of Catherine of Siena, 2nd edn (San Jose, 2001), 118 . In her life as recorded by Raymond of Capua, Catherine ‘was particularly struck by the psalm-verse with which each Hour of the Office begins. It remained a favourite with her for the rest of her life; ‘Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me.’ She translated it into the vernacular, and would repeat it again and again. Raymond of Capua, The Life of Catherine of Siena, trans. Conleth Kearns (Wilmington, DE, 1980), 105.

56 See Fullerton, Lady Georgiana, The Inner Life of Lady Georgiana Fullerton with Notes of Retreat and Diary, trans. Coleridge, H. J. (London, 1899), 274 and 365 .

57 The Latin text is edited in Collationes XXIIII, ed. Petschenig, Michael, supplemented by Kreuz, Gottfried, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum , vol. 13, 2nd edn (Vienna, 2004).

58 Cassian, Collationes, 297: ‘Erit itaque ad perpetuam dei memoriam possidendam haec inseparabiliter proposita uobis formula pietatis’. Translated in John Cassian, The Conferences, trans. Boniface Ramsey (New York, 1997), 379.

59 Cabrol, ‘2. Deus in adjutorium’, 698, with reference to chapter 18 of Benedict's Rule Rule: ‘In primis semper diurnis horis dicatur versus: Deus in adjutorium meeum intende, Domine ad adjuvandum me festina.’ In fact, Benedict recommends in his Rule that monks read Cassian's Conferences, clearly connecting his daily prescriptions for the singing of Psalm 69 with Cassian. When Cassiodorus comments upon Psalm 69 a century or so after Benedict, he likewise refers to Cassian's interpretation of the Deus in adiutorium text: ‘But the most eloquent Cassian attaches such glory to it that whenever his monks undertake a task, they do not begin without declaiming this little verse three times. By repeatedly reiterating it, he shows that memorising it is extremely useful.’ Cassiodorus, Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms, trans. Patrick G. Walsh, 3 vols. (New York, 1991), 2: 162.

60 Cassian, Collationes, 297–8: ‘Hic namque uersiculus non inmerito de toto scripturarum excerptus est instrumento. Recipit enim omnes adfectus quicumque inferri humanae possunt naturae et ad omnem statum atque uniuersos incursus proprie satis et conpetenter aptatur.’ Trans. in Cassian, The Conferences, 379.

61 See Leclercq, ‘1. Deus in adjutorium’, 697: ‘Cassien dit simplement, à l'occasion de ce verset, que les moines zélés entretenaient l'esprit de prière et se préservaient des tentations et du relâchement par des oraisons jaculatoires telles que le Deus in adjutorium qu'ils répétaient fréquemment.’

62 Cassian, Collationes, conference 10, ch. 10, runs from fols. 97r to 109v. Digitised image: (accessed 20 November 2013).

63 Cassian, Collationes, 302; trans. in Cassian, The Conferences, 382–3. This passage has clear connections to Deuteronomy 6: 5–9: ‘Eruntque verba haec, quae ego praecipio tibi hodie, in corde tuo: et narrabis ea filiis tuis, et meditaberis in eis sedens in domo tua, et ambulans in itinere, dormiens atque consurgens. Et ligabis ea quasi signum in manu tua, eruntque et movebuntur inter oculos tuos, scribesque ea in limine, et ostiis domus tuae.’ My thanks to Louis Epstein for bringing the Shema to my attention, a daily Hebrew prayer derived from this same biblical passage. See also Stewart, Columba, Cassian the Monk (Oxford, 1998), 111–12.

64 Pater creator omnium has no explicit liturgical associations other than those implied through its borrowed texts. Similar arguments could be offered for the performance of Pater creator omnium in the liturgy as have been made for Benedicamus Domino tropes based on the appearance of a liturgical versicle in its text, but no concrete evidence currently exists to provide compelling support.

This article expands on ideas first explored in my ‘Singing, Dancing, and Rejoicing in the Round: Latin Sacred Songs with Refrains, circa 1000–1582’, Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago (2013), 253–7 and 386–403. An early version of this article was presented at the New England chapter meeting of the American Musicological Society at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on 28 September 2013. My sincerest thanks to Corinna Campbell, Michelle Urberg, Elina Hamilton and Anne Walters Robertson for commenting on versions of this article. I am grateful, additionally, for the valuable feedback provided by the anonymous readers of this journal.

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Plainsong & Medieval Music
  • ISSN: 0961-1371
  • EISSN: 1474-0087
  • URL: /core/journals/plainsong-and-medieval-music
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