Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nox atra rerum

A few years ago, Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB, asked me to translate some Latin breviary hymns into rhyming English. Here is one example. Others may be found in The Mundelein Psalter.

Nox atra rerum contegit
terrae colores omnium:
nos confitentes poscimus
te, iuste iudex cordium,

Ut auferas piacula
sordesque mentis abluas,
donesque, Christe, gratiam
ut arceantur crimina.

Mens, ecce, torpet impia,
quam culpa mordet noxia;
obscura gestit tollere
et te, Redemptor, quaerere.

Repelle tu caliginem
intrinsecus quam maxime,
ut in beato gaudeat
se collocari lumine.

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Spiritu Sancto Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
As earth and all its colors bright
Are covered by the black of night,
We make our prayer and offer praise
To you, just Judge of all our ways:

That you would take away our sin,
And wash us clean from stain within,
And give, O Christ, the grace we need
To hold off every harmful deed.

Redeemer, see, the mind beset
By wickedness grows dull; and yet
It longs to put dark works away,
To seek you by the light of day.

Drive out the darkness from our heart,
From every corner let it part;
Then shall the heart be truly blessed
Within your light to find its rest.

To you, O Christ, most kindly King,
And to the Father praise we sing;
The Spirit, too, we glorify,
In songs that never fade or die. Amen.

Copyright 2005 Fr. Thomas Buffer

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