Robert Fayrfax (April 23, 1464 – October 24, 1521) was an English Renaissance composer, considered the most prominent and influential of the reigns of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII of England.
The Lambeth Choirbook – also known as the Arundel Choirbook – is an illuminated choirbook dating to the sixteenth century. It contains music for 7 Masses, 4 Magnificats, and 8 motets. Much of the music is by Tudor-period composers. The major contributors are Robert Fayrfax and Nicholas Ludford; between them they contributed at least ten of its nineteen pieces. Only three of Fayrfax’s works have his name attached to them, but five other pieces are known as his; these, along with two by Ludford, are known from concordances in the Caius Choirbook and other manuscripts. Seven anonymous pieces exist in the book:
- Ave Dei Patris filia
- Ave mundi spes Maria
- Gaude flore virginali
- Salve regina
- two Magnificats
- Vidi aquam egredientem de templo (antiphon at the Aspersion before Mass during Eastertide).
The book is now housed in Lambeth Palace Library under the reference MS 1.
Ave mundi spes Maria (English translation)
Hail, hope of the world, Mary, hail, meek one, hail, loving one, hail, full of grace
Hail O singular virgin, who wast chosen to not suffer flames through brambles
Hail, beautiful rose, hail, staff of Jesse:
Whose fruit loosened the chains of our weeping
Hail whose womb bore a son against the law of death
Hail, O one lacking comparison, still tearfully renewing joy for the world
Hail, lamp of virgins, through whom the heavenly light shone on these whom shadow holds.
Hail, O virgin from whom a thing of heaven wished to be born, and from whose milk feed.
Hail, gem of the lamps of heaven
Hail, sanctuary of the Holy Ghost
O, how wonderful, and how praiseworthy is this virginity!
In whom, made through the spirit, the paraclete, shone fruitfulness.
O how holy, how serene, how kind, how pleasant the virgin is believed to be!
Through whom slavery is finished, a place of heaven is opened, and liberty is returned.
O, lily of chastity, pray to thy son, who is the salvation of the humble:
Lest we through our fault, in the tearful judgment suffer punishment.
But may she, by her holy prayer, purifying from the dregs of sin, place us in a home of light
Amen let every man say.
Ave mundi spes Maria, ave mitis, ave pia, ave plena gratia.
Ave virgo singularis, quć per rubum designaris non passus incendia.
Ave rosa speciosa, ave Jesse virgula:
Cujus fructus nostri luctus relaxavit vincula.
Ave cujus viscera contra mortis foedera ediderunt filium.
Ave carens simili, mundo diu flebili reparasti gaudium.
Ave virginum lucerna, per quam fulsit lux superna his quos umbra tenuit.
Ave virgo de qua nasci, et de cujus lacte pasci res cćlorum voluit.
Ave gemma coeli luminarium.
Ave Sancti Spiritus sacrarium.
Oh, quam mirabilis, et quam laudabilis hćc est virginitas!
In qua per spiritum facta paraclitum fulsit foecunditas.
Oh, quam sancta, quam serena, quam benigna, quam amoena esse virgo creditur!
Per quam servitus finitur, posta coeli aperitur, et libertas redditur.
Oh, castitatis lilium, tuum precare filium, qui salus est humilium:
Ne nos pro nostro vitio, in flebili judicio subjiciat supplicio.
Sed nos tua sancta prece mundans a peccati fćce collocet in lucis domo.
Amen dicat omnis homo.