The Hymn of the Day for the Transfiguration of Our Lord is the 15th-century hymn O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair, translated by John Mason Neale at LSB 413. The most commonly-associated tune with this text, and the one used in LSB, dates from the 15th century as well: DEO GRACIAS. In some hymnals this tune is named AGINCOURT, after the tune’s origin as the Agincourt Carol. The Agincourt Carol was written in the wake of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, part of the Hundred Years’ War, in which the numerically-challenged English army unexpectedly defeated France. Here’s the refrain and the first stanza—you’ll see that you can easily sing the stanza to the hymn tune you already know:

Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
[Give thanks to God, O England, for victory!]

Owre Kynge went forth to Normandy
With grace and myght of chyvalry
Ther God for hym wrought mervelusly;
Wherefore Englonde may call and cry:
Deo gratias!

Facsimile of the Agincourt Carol in the Trinity Carol Roll (Trinity MS O.3.58)

As preserved in the Trinity Carol Roll, the stanzas of the carol are set for two voices, and the refrain has both two- and three-voice settings. It’s relatively straightforward to adapt these settings for a modern church choir, and that is what we will hear on Sunday at the Hymn of the Day. The choir will sing stanza 4 of the hymn and follow it with the refrain, both using original settings from the Trinity Carol Roll.

But wait! What about the refrain referring to England? Easy: change Anglia to Ecclesia:

Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
[Give thanks to God, O England, for victory!]

Deo gratias Ecclesia redde pro victoria!
[Give thanks to God, O Church, for victory!]

And such a modified refrain fits Transfiguration, because as Luke 9:31 attests, during His Transfiguration Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus about His departure (literally, exodus) which He was about to undergo at Jerusalem. And what else is the Church’s victory than Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, that He might fill all things and give His gifts to men? “Therefore, O Church, rejoice and cry, Deo gratias!


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