In the Medieval English church, they added an eighth antiphon, addressed to the Virgin, and included it by moving all the antiphons forward a day to begin on 16th December. Now the English church follows the rest of Christendom with the arrangement of seven antiphons, but I thought it would be good to include it, appended to the end. After all, without Mary…
O Virgo virginum, quomodo fiet istud?
Quia nec primam similem visa es nec habere sequentem.
Filiae Jerusalem, quid me admiramini?
Divinum est mysterium hoc quod cernitis.
O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be?
For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after.
Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me?
The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.
Here is the setting by Josquin des Prez, with a cracking good video of Mabuse’s Nativity.
Follow this link for a glorious rendition of all the antiphons (in German) by Arvo Part:
Here’s wishing you joy over the Twelve Days and for the forthcoming year.