This hymn is the first in a series of hymns each of which feature one of the seven days of creation. I blogged the six other Vespers hymns earlier (where I said I should have started with this one). The theme of this hymn is the work of the first day of Creation.
Lucis Creátor óptime
O august Creator of the light,
lucem diérum próferens,
who didst bring forth the light of day,
primórdiis lucis novae,
and with the creation of new light
mundi parans oríginem:
didst begin the origin of the world:
O blest Creator of the light,
Who mak'st the day with radiance bright,
and o'er the forming world didst call
the light from chaos first of all;
2. Qui mane iunctum vesperi
that morning joined with evening
diem vocári praécipis:
be called Day, Thou didst command:
tætrum chaos illábitur,
foul darkness descends,
audi preces cum flétibus.
hear Thou our prayers with our weeping.
2. Whose wisdom joined in meet array
the morn and eve, and named them Day:
night comes with all its darkling fears;
regard Thy people's prayers and tears.
3. Ne mens graváta crímine,
Lest the soul burdened with sin
vitæ sit exsul múnere,
be deprived of the gift of life,
dum nil perénne cógitat,
while it thinks of nothing eternal,
seséque culpis ílligat.
and fetters itself with sins.
3. Lest, sunk in sin, and whelmed with strife,
they lose the gift of endless life;
while thinking but the thoughts of time,
they weave new chains of woe and crime.
4. Cælórum pulset íntimum,
Let it knock at the heavenly portal
vitale tollat praémium;
and bear away the prize of life;
vitémus omne nóxium:
let us avoid everything harmful,
purgémus omne péssimum.
and purge out everything sinful.
4. But grant them grace that they may strain
the heavenly gate and prize to gain:
each harmful lure aside to cast,
and purge away each error past.
5. Præsta, Pater piíssime,
Patríque compar Unice,
cum Spíritu Paráclito
regnans per omne saéculum.
5. O Father, that we ask be done,
through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
doth live and reign eternally. Amen.
The author of this hymn is Gregory the Great, maybe. The index in the Liber Hymnarius has a question mark by his name.
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