1 The strain upraise of joy and praise, Alleluia!
To the glory of their King
Shall the ransomed people sing,
And the choirs that dwell on high
Shall re-echo through the sky
2 They through the fields of Paradise who roam,
The blesséd ones, repeat through that bright home
The planets beaming on their heavenly way,
The shining constellations join, and say,
3 Te clouds that onward sweep,
Ye winds on pinions light,
Ye thunders, echoing loud and deep,
Ye lightnings, wildly bright,
In sweet consent unite
4 Ye floods and ocean billows,
Ye storms and winter snow,
Ye days of cloudless beauty,
Hoar frost and summer glow;
Ye groves that wave in spring,
And glorious forests sing, Alleluia!
5 First let the birds with painted plumage gay,
Exalt their great Creator's praise, and say,
Then let the beasts of earth, with varying strain,
Join in creation's hymn, and cry again,
6 Here let the mountains thunder forth sonorous
There let the valleys sing in gentler chorus,
Thou jubilant abyss of ocean, cry
Ye tracts of earth and continents, reply,
7 To God, Who all creation made,
The frequent hymn be duly paid:
This is the strain, the eternal strain,
the Lord Almighty loves:
This is the song, the heavenly song,
that Christ the King approves:
Wherefore we sing, both heart and voice awaking,
And children's voices echo, answer making,
8 Now from all men be outpoured
Alleluia to the Lord,
With Alleluia evermore,
The Son and Spirit we adore.
Praise be done to the Three in One,
Cantemus cuncti melodum nunc, Alleluia. [Epiphany.] This Sequence is given by Father Joachim Brander (a monk of the Abbey of St. Gall), in his manuscript collection of Hymns, Sequences, &c, 1507. Brander gives the following description, “Alia de Epiphania Christi Sequentia jocunda b. Notkeri, titulis Puella turbata. Canitur praecipue in Octava Epiphaniae," ("Another joyful Sequence of Blessed Notker's [died 912] for the Epi¬phany of Christ, with the title: The troubled Virgin. It is sung especially in the octave of the Epiphany.”) The title Puella turbata, "The troubled (or disturbed) Virgin," has caused some difficulty as to what may be its meaning; but for its use we may refer to St. Matthew ii. 3, Jerusalem being termed the Virgin daughter of Sion; the troubling there mentioned occurring at the season of the Epiphany. The words of the hymn are modelled on those of the 148th Psalm.
The text is given in Mone, No. 67; Daniel, ii. p. 52; and Kehrein, No, 44, in each case with notes, and extensive readings from ancient manuscripts, the oldest being of the 11th century, and referred to by Daniel. In addition the text is also in an 11th century manuscript in the British Museum (Hurl. 2961, f. 234 6), and in three 11th century manuscripts at St. Gall, Nos. 376, 380, 381.
In his Mediaevel Hymns, 1863, p. 34, Dr. Neale says, "Next to St. Notker himself, the most famous writer of the Proses named from him was Godescalcus," and at p. 42 of this Sequence, "We shall have another occasion to speak of the 'Deposition of Alleluia' at Septuagesima, for which this famous Sequence was written by Godescalcus." Brander, Daniel, and Kehrein all declare that the Sequence is by St. Notker. For Dr. Neale's ascription to Godescalcus we find no evidence, and must thus assign the Sequence to St. Notker. [W. A. Shoults, B.D.]
Translations in common use:—
1. The strain upraise of joy and praise, Alleluia. By J. M. Neale, appeared in the Hymnal Noted, enlarged edition, 1854, and in his Mediaeval Hymns, 2nd ed., 1863; it has passed into almost every hymnal published since that date. In the 2nd edition of his Mediaeval Hymns, 1863, Dr. Neale gives the history of its somewhat peculiar construction, and complains most bitterly of its being sung to Troyte's chant. He says:—
"There is only one thing with respect to the use of any of my hymns that has grieved me: the rejection of the noble melody of the Alleluiatic Sequence, and that for a third-rate chant. What would be said of chanting the Dies irae? And yet I really believe it would suffer less than does the Cantemus cuncti by such a substitution. Further be it noticed, every sentence, I had almost said every word, of the version was carefully fitted to the music, the length of the lines corresponds to the length of each troparion in the original; and these are now stretched on the Procrustean bed of the same meaningless melody. That the original music cannot be learnt in an hour or two is most certain; but seeing that I have heard it thoroughly well sung, and most heartily enjoyed, by a school choir, varying in ages from fourteen to five, is it not unworthy of the great choral meetings, as at Ely, Salisbury, Sherborne, and elsewhere, including the words in their programmes, so utterly to spoil them in their performance,? Let it be remembered that I have some little right to speak on the subject, having been the first to introduce the Sequence to English readers, and there being, even now, no other translation but my own." (Preface, p. ix.)
Notwithstanding this earnest protest of the translator, the original melody is practically unknown. It is included in the Hymnal Noted with the accompanying Harmonies. The adaptation from Dr. Neale's translation in the Hymnary, 1872, No. 189: "In sweet consent let all the anthem sing, Alleluia," cannot be called a new rendering of the Sequence.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)