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Caelius. A Christian poet of the second half of the fifth century; he died when still young. At first he wrote secular poetry, but afterwards composed a poem in five books on the miracles of Christ (Carmen Paschale), a simple narrative following the gospels, in many points imitating Vergil. This was followed by a prose version (Opus Paschale), laboured and bombastic in style; also by an elaborate comparison of the Old and New Testaments in fifty-five couplets, and a hymn to Christ in twenty-three quatrains of iambic dimeters, remarkable for the partial employment of rhyme as a musical element. The verses commence with the successive letters of the alphabet. Portions of this hymn have always been in use in the Church of Rome. We quote the first two stanzas:
A solis ortus cardine
Ad usque terrae limitem,
Christum canamus Principem,
Ortum Maria Virgine.
Beatus Auctor saeculi
Servile corpus induit;
Ut carne carnem liberans
Ne perderet quos condidit.

Edited by Arevalus (Rome, 1794); and Hulmer (Vienna, 1885). See Hymnus.

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