Today I begin working with Vespers hymns. I really should have started with Second Vespers on Sunday, but I'll catch that one on the return trip. The reason I should have started there is that the Vespers hymns follow a logical sequence outlining the days of creation in the opening chapters of Genesis.
Hence today's hymn speaks of what happened on the 2nd day of creation.
Imménse cæli cónditor,
O Great Creator of the heavens
qui, mixta ne confúnderent,
who, lest uniting they flow together,
aquae fluénta dívidens,
dividing the floods of water
cælum dedísti límitem,
Thou didst establish the sky as a boundary.
O GREAT CREATOR of the sky,
Who wouldest not the floods on high
with earthly water to confound,
but madist the firmament their bound;
Firmans locum cæléstibus,
Thou didst establish a place for the heavenly waters,
simúlque terræ rívulis,
and also for the streams on earth,
ut unda flammas témperet,
that water might moderate the heat,
terræ solum ne díssipet:
lest it destroy the soil of the earth.
The floods above Thou didst ordain;
the floods below Thou didst restrain:
that moisture might attemper heat,
lest the parched earth should ruin meet.
Infúnde nunc, piíssime,
Pour forth now, most gracious Lord,
donum pérennis grátiæ,
the gift of Thy never-failing grace,
fraudis novæ ne cásibus
lest by the misfortune of some new deception
nos error átterat vetus.
the old error should overwhelm us.
Upon our souls, good Lord, bestow
Thy gift of grace in endless flow:
lest some renewed deceit or wile
of former sin should us beguile.
Lucem fides invéniat,
Let faith increase the light,
sic lúminis iubar ferat;
and thus produce an effulgence of light;
hæc vana cuncta térreat,
may it trample under foot all vain things;
hanc falsa nulla cómprimant.
may nothing false supplant it.
Let faith discover heav’nly light;
so shall its rays direct us right:
and let this faith each error chase,
and never give to falsehood place.
Præsta, Pater piíssime,
Patríque compar Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito
regnans per omne saéculum. Amen.
Grant this, O Father, ever One
with Christ, Thy sole-begotten Son,
and Holy Ghost, whom all adore,
reigning and blest forevermore. Amen.
The translation is by the great J.M. Neale.
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