Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday Vespers Even Week


Luminis fons, lux et orígo lucis,
Source of light, THE light and origin of light,
tu pius nostris précibus favéto,
Thou loving (Trinity) favor our prayers
luxque, peccáti ténebris fugátis,
and, the shadows of sin having been chased away,
nos tua adórnet.
let thy Light equip us.

2. Ecce transáctus labor est diéi,
Behold the day's work is complete,
teque nos tuti sumus adnuénte;
and we have been protected by thy gaze;
en tibi grates ágimus libéntes
See, to thee we give glad thanks
tempus in omne.
at all times.

3. Solis abcéssus ténebras redúxit:
The setting sun brings back the darkness:
ille sol nobis rádiet corúscus
Let that brilliant Sun shine for us
luce qui fulva fovet angelórum
the light which warms with reddish glow
ágmina sancta.
the holy crowd of angels.

4. Quas dies culpas hodiérna texit,
The Day covers whatever be the day's faults
Christus deléto pius atque mitis,
Christ, upright and merciful, having wiped away
pectus et puro rútilet nitóre
and may the blameless soul glow brightly
témpore noctis.
through the nighttime.

5. Laus tibi Patri decus atque Nato,
Praise to Thee, Father, and honor to the Son,
Flámini Sancto párilis potéstas,
to the Holy Breath equally powerful,
cuncta qui sceptro régitis suprémo
Thou who rulest over all with highest scepter,
omne per ævum. Amen.
through all time.

I was totally on my own for this one. I have no idea where this hymn comes from. The meter is Sapphic and Adonic. I could find out nothing else about this hymn. I am pretty shaky about most of this translation. I suspect that the first line refers to the Trinity.

  • Luminis fons source of light the Father
  • lux the Light the Son (Iesus dicens "ego sum lux mundi..."
  • et orígo lucis, origin of Light the Holy Spirit...? the only Person left, but I couldn't figure out a reference from Scripture or Tradition identifying the Holy Spirit as the "origin of Light."

Also, these morning and evening hymns are so filled with references to LIGHT that I am starting to wonder about the difference between the Latin words lux and lumen. I know there is a lot of overlap in their meanings (light, day, daylight, etc.) but lumen could mean "torch" or "lamp" even sometimes refering to the sun.

I am going to need lots of help understanding the Vespers hymns this week, the Even Week, so all you legions of readers chime in!!!

Saints and angels, pray for me. All you holy monks and nuns who sang these hymns on earth, whether you completely understood them or not, pray for us who strive to enter into the traditional Mind of Holy Mother Church.


Anonymous said...

Based on my knowledge of at least Augustine's and Eusebius' use of light imagery, I'd guess that you are right that the first stanza refers to the Godhead, but I don't think the hymn is distinguishing amongst the Persons; rather, God in general is "light and source of all light," etc.

Also, I prefer to translate "pius" as "holy" or "righteous," as the Roman use of it would very rarely connotate love. Thus, "Thou holy one, hear/favor our prayers...".

Maureen said...

Search engine says....

It's a ninth century "carmina" by Alcuin, monk from England, employed by Charlemagne to start schools and be his adviser on educated guy stuff.