“Ave, Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Sea)”


A French/Quebecois song of praise to the Virgin Mary (sung in Latin): "Ave, maris stella, Dei Mater alma, Atque semper virgo, Felix coeli porta (x2)" "Sumus illud Ave Gabrielis ora, Funda nes in pace, Mutans Hevae nomen."

Supplemental text

Ave, Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Sea)
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From James J. Wilhelm, Medieval Song. The Latin text is on page 377. No source
is indicated.  The first three verses are those quoted in Fowke/Mills/Blume;
I have glossed the Latin at right (note that this is neither a usable nor an
exact translation; more an indication of the intent of the individual words).
In the glosses, the symbol ~ means that the Latin word order must be inverted
for English sense. I follow this with a continuous English (indented),
loosely based on Wilhelm's but with reference to the Latin. - RBW

Ave, maris stella,        hail [of the] sea~star
Dei mater alma            [of] god the mother~kind
Atque semper virgo        also always [a] virgin
Felix caeli porta         fruitful/fortunate [of] heaven~gateway

     Hail, star of the sea,
     Kindly Mother of God,
     Virgin eternally,
     Gateway to heavenly joy.

Sumens illud "Ave"        through (it) hail
Gabrielis ore,            [of] Gabriel~[the] mouth
Funda nos in pace,        establish us in peace
Mutans Evae nomen         changing [of] Eve~[the] name

     Ave!* Now we do hail!
     From the mouth of Gabriel,
     True peace to us do leave,
     Changing the name of Eve!

Solve vincia reis,        release [from] chains sinners
Profer lumen caecis,      offer [the] light [of[ heaven
Mala nostra pelle,        evils [of] us discard
Bona cuncta posce!        good/blessing~complete/united [be] granted

     Sinners from chains unbind,
     Grant light unto the blind;
     Make our evils all be gone,
     And goodness for us be done.

Monstra essa matrem,
Sumat per te preces
Qui pro nobis natus
Tulit esse tuus.

     Show you are the mother,
     Our own requests gather
     For him whom you gave birth
     To suffer here on hearth.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos
Mites fac et castos

     Virgin, the one and only,
     Chosen out of so many,
     Punish us for our guilt,
     And free us if you will.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Iesum
Semper collaetemur!

     Give us the holy life,
     Guide us away from strife,
     Show us Jesus's ways,
     And let us live always.

Sit laus Deo patri,
Summum Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto,
Honor, Tribus unus!

So praise God the Father,
Glory to Christ as well,
And the Holy Spirit,
Honor to the three in one.

* An anagram: AVE=Hail, inverse of EVA=Eve


According to Fowke/Mills, this song was adopted as the quasi-official hymn of the French colony in Canada at the suggestion of Louis XIII, and is still sung on special occasions by the Acadians.

The original Latin text is longer and older than the commonly sung version; it has been dated as early as the seventh century. It is perhaps typical of the Marian cult that only one of the images of the poem (the visitation by Gabriel, Luke 1:26f.) is biblical. The others are either from the creed (the trinitarian imagery) or directly from Catholic legend (Mary's eternal virginity, etc.) or apparently specific to the poem (e.g. the reference to the "maris stella" -- the "of-the-sea star"). - RBW


  • LOCSheet, sm1871 11058, "Ave maris stella," Balmer & Weber (Saint Louis), 1871 (tune); also sm1873 01284; sm1877 05005; sm1873 01284; sm1882 13480


  1. Fowke/Mills/Blume, pp. 19-20, "Ave, Maris Stella" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST FMB019 (Full)
  3. BI, FMB019


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1960
Found in: Canada(Que)