Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

Somno reféctis ártubus,
By sleep our limbs restored
Spreto cubíli, súrgimus:
having spurned our bed, we arise:
Nobis, Pater, canéntibus
to us who are singing, Father
Adésse te depóscimus.
we earnestly request you to be near.

Te lingua primum cóncinat,
Let the tongue first sing to Thee,
Te mentis ardor ámbiat:
let the intensity of our mind embrace Thee,
Ut áctuum sequéntium
that of the actions that follow
Tu, Sancte, sis exórdium.
you, Holy One, may be the beginning.

Cedant tenébræ lúmini,
Let darkness yield to light
Et nox diúrno síderi,
and night to the day-star,
Ut culpa, quam nox íntulit,
that sin, which the night has brought in,
Lucis labáscat múnere.
may fall to pieces by your gift of light.

Precámur iídem súpplices,
We beseech Thee by these same prayers,
Noxas ut omnes ámputes,
that Thou eradicate all crimes,
Et ore te canéntium (Update: thanks, Figulus)
by the mouth of those who sing to thee
Laudéris omni témpore.
may you be praised at all times.

Præsta, Pater piíssime,
Patríque compar Unice,
Cum Spíritu Paráclito
Regnans per omne sæculum.

Anonymous, 6th or 7th century.

When I found out that monks got up at three in the morning to pray this office, I was flabbergasted. What discipline! What craziness! How did they stay awake? Especially during the long readings from the Scriptures and the Fathers?


Figulus said...

A very direct and literal translation, thank you.

Perhaps you slipped into paraphrase here: "Et ore te canéntium", which I would crib as "by the mouth of those who sing to thee".

Geometricus said...


I like yours better. I'm changing it from

and each mouth singing to Thee
may you be praised at all times.

to your "crib".