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Medieval Music Database

O canenda vulgo per computa; Rex quem metrorum depingit prima figura; Rex regum

motet by Philippe de Vitry.


Durham: Cathedral Library C.I.20, fol. 337v;
Fribourg: Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire Z 260, fol. 86v (4/2);
Ivrea: Biblioteca Capitolare 115, fol. 55 (4/2);
Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds nouv. acq. français 23190 (olim Serrant Château, ducs de la Trémoïlle), fol. 19v-20 (lost); Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds nouv. acq. latines 2444, fol. 48v (4/2).


1. ZWICK, Gabriel. 'Deux motets inédits de Philippe de Vitry et de Guillaume de Machaut', Revue de musicologie, XXVII (1948), (Fc260).
2. Manuscripts of 14th Century English Polyphony: A Selection of Facsimiles, edited by Frank Ll. Harrison and Roger Wibberley, London: Stainer & Bell, 1982. Early English Church Music XXVI, plate 160 (DRc20).

Text Editions

1. ZWICK, Gabriel. 'Deux motets inédits de Philippe de Vitry et de Guillaume de Machaut', Revue de musicologie, XXVII (1948), p. 40.
2. The Roman de Fauvel; The Works of Philippe de Vitry; French Cycles of the Ordinarium Missae, edited by Leo Schrade, Monaco: Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, 1956. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century I, p. 106.
3. CALDWELL, John. Medieval Music, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, London: Hutchinson, 1978, no. 64 (incomplete).


BLACHLY, Alexander. The Motets of Philippe de Vitry, Columbia University (M.A. thesis), p. 120.


1. BESSELER, Heinrich. 'Studien zur Musik des Mittelalters. II. Die Motette von Franko von Köln bis Philippe von Vitry', Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, VIII (1926): 137-258.
2. ZWICK, Gabriel. 'Deux motets inédits de Philippe de Vitry et de Guillaume de Machaut', Revue de musicologie, XXVII (1948), pp. 35-36.
3. PIRROTTA, Nino. 'Marchettus de Padua and the Italian Ars nova', Musica Disciplina, IX (1955), pp. 66-67.
4. SCHRADE, Leo. 'Philippe de Vitry: some new discoveries', Musical Quarterly, XLII (1956): 330-354.
5. HOPPIN, Richard H. and Suzanne CLERCX. 'Notes biographiques sur quelques musiciens français du XIVe siècle', Les Colloques de Wégimont II, 1955, Paris: Société d'Edition "Les belles lettres", 1959, p. 73.
6. BESSELER, Heinrich. 'Falsche Autornamen in den Handschriften Strassburg (Vitry) und Montecassino (Dufay)', Acta Musicologica, XL (1968), pp. 201-202.
7. SANDERS, Ernest. 'The mediaeval motet', Gattungen der Musik in Einzeldarstellungen: Gedenkschrift Leo Schrade, Erste Folge, Bern, Munich: 1971, pp. 497-573.
8. SANDERS, Ernest H. 'The early motets of Philippe de Vitry', Journal of the American Musicological Society, XXVIII (1975): 24-45.
9. LEFFERTS, Peter M. The Motet in England in the Fourteenth Century, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1986, p. 254.


O canenda vulgo per compita
ab eterno belial dedita
seculorum nephanda rabies
et delira canum insanies
quem cum nequis carpere dentibus
criminaris neque lactrattibus
damnum colens tu quid persequeris
virum iustum et tuo deseris
rege regi quem decor actuum
illuminat quem genus strenuum
et sanctorum multa affinitas
sibi facta lux splendor claritas
corruscantem reddit pre ceteris
quemadmodum nocturnis syderis
iubar Phebus perventus abtulit
dei proth dolor lapsum pertulit
iherusalem dominum proprium
ihesum spernens habes in socium.

Rex quem metrorum depingit prima figura
Omne tenens in se quod dat natura beatis
Basis iusticie troianus iulius ausu
Ecclesie tuctor machabeus hector in arma
Rura colens legum scrutator theologie
Temperie superans augustum iulius hemo
Virtutes cuius mores genus actaque nati
Scribere non possem possint tuper ethera scribi.

Rex regum


O unspeakable madness of our age,
the very delirium of rabid dogs
(it should be openly exposed at every crossroad
how you have been from time immemorial
in collusion with the devil),
why do you, inviting damnation, proceed against that just man
whom you cannot tear with your teeth,
nor indict with your barking?
Why do you forsake your king,
honoured by the grace of his royal deeds,
whom an illustrious family of close affinity with the saints,
and the radiance, splendor, and brilliance given to him
place shining above all others,
just as gleaming Phoebus on arising
seems actually to remove the light from the night stars:
you ally yourself to the very sin against God,
miserable to say, that Jerusalem committed
in spurning her rightful Lord, Jesus.

The king whom the first letters of these lines depict,
contains within himself all things that nature gives to the blessed,
is the base of justice, a Trojan Julius in courage,
a Maccabean protector of the Church,
and a Hector in arms, honouring his country
and yet remaining a scholar of the covenants of theology;
he surpasses Julius Augustus as a man of moderation.
Since I cannot describe in words the virtues,
character, family, and deeds of a man so endowed,
may these things be celebrated above in the heavens.

O King of Kings.

Text revision and translation © Alexander Blachly

Content Approved by: MMDB Director
Last updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2003

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