Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wednesday Lauds Odd Week

I have some historical information about today's hymn Nox et tenébræ et núbila from The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal by Fr. Matthew Britt, O.S.B.: he says it was written by Prudentius (348-413). I include a metric translation by W. J. Courthope, even though the English meter is different from the Latin, in other words, you can't sing the English to the tune of the Latin.


Nox et tenébræ et núbila,
Night and shadows and clouds
confúsa mundi et túrbida,
the heavens disordered and troubled
lux intrat, albéscit polus:
light enters, the sky whitens:
Christus venit; discédite.
Christ has come; Depart!

(speaking to Nox et tenébræ et núbila)

DAY is breaking, dawn is bright:
Hence, vain shadows of the night!
Mists that dim our mortal sight,
Christ is come! Depart!

Calígo terræ scínditur
The darkness of the earth is split
percússa solis spículo,
pierced by a ray of the sun
rebúsque iam color redit
color now returns to things
vultu niténtis síderis.
at the appearance of the shining (day-)star

Darkness routed lifts her wings
as the radiance upwards springs:
through the world of wakened things
life and color dart.

Sic nostra mox obscúritas
Thus our darknesses soon
fraudísque pectus cónscium,
and offenses, known in the heart
ruptis retéctum núbibus,
clouds broken, laid bare
regnánte palléscet Deo.
will fade, God reigning

Te, Christe, solum nóvimus,
You alone, O Christ we know
te mente pura et símplici
with pure and simple hearts
rogáre curváto genu
to ask on bended knee
flendo et canéndo díscimus.
with tears and singing we learn

Thee, O Christ, alone we know,
singing even in our woe,
with pure hearts to Thee we go:
on our senses shine!

Inténde nostris sénsibus
Our senses hold out
vitámque totam dispice:
and consider our whole life
sunt multa fucis íllita
they are much smeared over with dye (bee-glue?)
quæ luce purgéntur tua.
by your light shall they be purged

In Thy beams be purged away
all that leads our thoughts astray!
Through our spirits, King of day,
pour Thy light divine!

Sit, Christe, rex piíssime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

Unto God the Father, Son,
Holy Spirit, Three in One,
one in Three, be glory done,
now and evermore. Amen.


Pawel said...

Hi Geometricus,
(Or should I have said Salve, Geometrice?)

I just wanted to say I appreciate what you are doing with the Latin hymns :-)

I am gradually switching to Latin Liturgia Horarum. In the end, I want to be able to use it as easily as my Polish Liturgia Godzin.

Reading your blog will help me understand the hymns better and sooner. I don't think I know as much Latin as you do. The way it works with me, my understanding of a hymn improves with usage - when I pray the same hymn for the fifth time, some elements that I previously failed to understand, finally click into place grammatically, so after several iterations the only missing pieces are things like bee-glue ;-)

Thanks and please keep that up :-)

Geometricus said...

Salve atque vale, Pawel.

Thanks for your words. I thought I only had one friend who read my blog. Now there are two!

I see from your profile that you are a 'programista'...is that "programmer" as in Computer Programmer?

I am a math teacher in the USA at a Catholic School. Next fall two Polish Dominicans are coming to serve at our school. We are so excited! We have never had a priest serve at our school full time, only visitors who come once or twice a week to say mass.

I will do my best to keep up the hymn output. I am learning so much myself, and I am eager to share.