20 January, 2007

Te lucis ante terminum

A while back, I translated a passage from Dante's Purgatorio and commented on a reference to Te Lucis Ante. I sang quietly last night while unable to sleep, and remembered that I hadn't yet translated it for the weblog.

Te lucis ante términum
rerum creátor póscimus
ut sólita cleméntia
sis præsul* ad custódiam.
Before the end of daylight
we ask you, creator of all things
that with your usual clemency
you might be our protector* on the path to safekeeping.
Te corda nostra sómnient,
te per sopórem séntiant,
tuámque semper glóriam
vicína luce cóncinant.
May our hearts dream of you,
may they perceive you even in deep sleep,
and may they sing your glory
ever near to your light.
Vitam salúbrem tríbue
nostrum calórum réfice,
tætrum noctis calíginem
tua collústret cláritas.
Grant a healthy life,
refresh our zeal,
may your light illumine
the awful gloom of night.
Præsta, Pater omnípotens,
per Iesum Christum Dóminum,
qui tecum in perpétuum
regnat cum Sancto Spírito. Amen.
Grant this, almighty Father,
through Jesus Christ the Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit
reigns for ever. Amen.

*Now this is interesting, and somehow I didn't recall this. In classical Rome, the præsul was a priest who danced before a religious procession, carrying a small oval shield. From this beginning, it evolved into a general meaning of protector or patron.

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