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Hymnus ad Galli Cantum

(song at cock-crow)

Liedboek voor de kerken, gez. 371

 

25 stanzas (100 lines): the first hymn of Prudentius’ Liber Cathemerinon - (‘Book in Accordance with the Hours’)

 

Illustration above: (//e-codices.unifr.ch/en/list/one/fcc/0002) - the hymn's incipit at the left.

Fribourg/Freiburg, Couvent des Cordeliers/Franziskanerkloster, Ms. 2, f. 53r - Antiphonarium Fratrum Minorum Secundum Consuetudinem Romanae Curiae (ca. 1300)

 

 

Prudentius

[in breviarium Romanum]
 

H.J. Thomson, Prudentius, vol I (1949)

(prose translation)

J.W. Schulte Nordholt, Hymnen 1967

(deels gez. 371)

J.M. Neale (1854?)

R. Martin Pope, the hymns of Prudentius

(1905)

Ales diei nuntius

lucem propinquam praecinit;

nos excitator mentium

iam Christus ad vitam vocat.

 

Auferte, clamat, lectulos

aegros, soporos, desides:

castique recti ac sobrii

vigilate, iam sum proximus.

 

Post solis ortum fulgidi

serum est cubile spernere,

ni parte noctis addita

tempus labori adieceris.

 

Vox ista, qua strepunt aves

stantes sub ipso culmine

paulo ante quam lux emicet,

nostri figura est iudicis.

 

Tectos tenebris horridis

stratisque opertos segnibus

suadet quietem linquere

iam iamque venturo die.

 

Ut, cum coruscis flatibus

aurora caelum sparserit,

omnes labore exercitos

confirmet ad spem luminis.

 

Hic somnus ad tempus datus

est forma mortis perpetis,

peccata ceu nox horrida

cogunt iacere ac stertere.

 

Sed vox ab alto culmine

Christi docentis praemonet,

adesse iam lucem prope,

ne mens sopori serviat:

 

Ne somnus usque ad terminos

vitae socordis opprimat

pectus sepultum crimine

et lucis oblitum suae.

 

Ferunt vagantes daemonas

laetos tenebris noctium,

gallo canente exterritos

sparsim timere et cedere.

 

Invisa nam vicinitas

lucis, salutis, numinis

rupto tenebrarum situ

noctis fugat satellites.

 

Hoc esse signum praescii

norunt repromissae spei,

qua nos soporis liberi

speramus adventum Dei.

 

Quae vis sit huius alitis,

salvator ostendit Petro,

ter antequam gallus canat

sese negandum praedicans.

 

Fit namque peccatum prius,

quam praeco lucis proximae

inlustret humanum genus

finemque peccandi ferat.

 

Flevit negator denique

ex ore prolapsum nefas,

cum mens maneret innocens,

animusque servaret fidem.

 

Nec tale quidquam postea

linguae locutus lubrico est,

cantuque galli cognito

peccare iustus destitit.

 

Inde est quod omnes credimus,

illo quietis tempore

quo gallus exsultans canit

Christum redisse ex inferis.

 

Tunc mortis oppressus vigor,

tunc lex subacta est tartari,

tunc vis diei fortior

noctem coegit cedere.

 

Iam iam quiescant inproba,

iam culpa furva obdormiat,

iam noxa letalis suum

perpessa somnum marceat.

 

Vigil vicissim spiritus

quodcumque restat temporis,

dum meta noctis clauditur,

stans ac laborans excubet.

 

Iesum ciamus vocibus

flentes, precantes, sobrii:

intenta supplicatio

dormire cor mundum vetat.

 

Sat convolutis artubus

sensum profunda oblivio

pressit, gravavit, obruit

vanis vagantem somniis.

 

Sunt nempe falsa et frivola,

quae mundiali gloria

ceu dormientes egimus:

vigilemus, hic est veritas.

 

Aurum, voluptas, gaudium,

opes, honores, prospera,

quaecumque nos inflant mala,

fit mane, nil sunt omnia.

 

Tu, Christe, somnum dissice,

tu rumpe noctis vincula,

tu solve peccatum vetus

novumque lumen ingere.

 

The bird that heralds day forewarns

that dawn is at hand;

now Christ, the awakener of our souls

calls us to life.

 

" Away," He cries, " with beds that

belong to sickness, sleep, and sloth.

Be pure and upright and sober

and awake, for now I am very near.”

 

It is late to spurn the couch

after the shining sun is up,

unless by adding a part of the night

thou hast given more hours to toil.[2]

 

The loud chirping of the birds[1]

perched under the very roof, a little while

before the light breaks forth,

is a symbol of our Judge.

 

As we lie closed in by foul darkness,

buried under the blankets of sloth,

He bids us leave repose behind,

for day is on the point of coming ;

 

that when dawn besprinkles the sky

with her shimmering breath

she may make us all, who were spent with

toil, strong to embrace the hope of light.

 

This sleep that is given us for a time

is an image of everlasting death.

Our sins, like foul night,

make us lie snoring ;

 

but the voice of Christ from the height

of heaven teaches and forewarns us

that daylight is near,

lest our soul be in bondage to slumber,

 

and to the very end of a slothful life

sleep lie heavy on a heart

that is buried in sin

and has forgotten its natural light.

 

They say that evil spirits which roam

happily in the darkness of night

are terrified when the cock crows,

and scatter and flee in fear ;

 

for the hated approach

of light, salvation, Godhead,

bursts through the foul darkness

and routs the ministers of night.

 

They have foreknowledge that this is a sign

of our promised hope,

whereby being freed from slumber

we hope for the coming of God.

 

What this bird signifies

the Saviour showed to Peter,

when He declared that ere the cock crew

He should be thrice denied.

 

For sin is committed before

the herald of coming day

sheds light on the race of men

and brings an end of sinning.

 

So he who denied Christ wept

for the wickedness that fell from his lips

while his mind remained upright

and his heart kept faith;

 

nor ever after did he speak

any such word by slip of tongue,

and when he heard the cock crow

he was made a just man and ceased to sin.

 

Hence it is that we all believe

it was at this hour of rest,

when the cock crows in his pride,

that Christ returned from the dead.

 

Then was the strength of death crushed,

then was the law of hell subdued,

then did the stronger potency of day

force night to flee.

 

Now, now let wickedness sink to rest,

now let dark sin fall asleep,

now let deadly guilt wither away,

the victim of its o slumber ;

 

and let the spirit in its turn awake,

and for the time that remains,

while the night's course is drawing to a close,

stand and be active at its post.

 

Let us call on Jesus -with our voices,

in tears and prayers and soberness ;

earnest supplication

keeps the pure heart from slumbering.

 

Long enough has deep forgetfulness,

as we lay curled up, pressed heavily

on our sense and buried it

while it wandered in baseless dreams.

 

Surely false and worthless are the things

we have done because of  worldly glory,

as though we did them in sleep.

Let us awake ! Reality is here.

 

Gold, pleasure, joy,

riches, honour, success,

all the evil things that puff us up,

— comes morning, all are naught.

 

Do Thou, O Christ, scatter our slumbers.

Do Thou burst the bonds of night.

Do Thou undo our long-established sin,

and pour in upon us the light of the new day.

 

De haan kraait dat de dag begint,

het licht het duister overwint.

Christus spreekt in het hart ons aan

om tot het leven op te staan.

 

Sta op uit slaap en nacht, roept Hij,

bedwelmend is hun heerschappij.

Treed kuis en zuiver aan het licht,

en waak: Ik nader ten gericht.

 

O lig niet langer uitgestrekt

wanneer het blinkend licht u wekt,

tenzij gij laat nog gisternacht

de tijd met werk[2]  hebt doorgebracht.

 

De haan kraait en het vogelheer

onder het dak gaat luid te keer

vlak voor de dageraad aanbreekt;

zo komt de stem die oordeel spreekt.

 

Ons die het diepe duister dekt,

een dek van traagheid neerwaarts trekt,

ons wekt hij op om op te staan:

ontwaak, ontwaak, de dag breekt aan.

 

O dat de lichte stralengloed,

die heel de hemel blinken doet,

ook ons, gebukt in druk en pijn,

weer uitzicht geeft op zonneschijn.

 

Wel is het slapen in de tijd

beeld van de slaap in eeuwigheid,

waarin de zware zondenacht

ons neerdwingt door zijn overmacht,

 

maar van de hoge klinkt de stem,

verkondigend de komst van Hem

die opgaat als een dageraad,

opdat geen duister meer bestaat.

 

Opdat de slaap niet langer meer

drukt in bedwelming ’t hart terneerm

zodat het voor het kwade  zwicht

en varen laat zijn eigen licht.

 

De haan kraait door de duisternis,

het heil dat nog verborgen is

verrijst en kleurt de hele lucht

jaagt de demonen op de vlucht.

 

’t Licht dat zij vrezen is nabij,

de goddelijke heerschappij

doorbreekt de duisternis met kracht,

verjaagt de spooksels van de nacht.

 

Dit is het teken, weten zij,

van onze hoop, het maakt ons vrij

van slaap en houdt het hart gericht

op God die komt, het eeuwig licht.

 

Wat deze vogel doet verstaan,

dat toont de Heiland Petrus aan;

Voordat de haan kraait, zeide Hij,

verloochend gij tot driemaal mij.

 

Als ons het kwaad gevangen houdt

weerklinkt de stem van de heraut

die met zijn licht ons hart vervult,

een einde maakt aan zonde en schuld.

 

De mens die God verloochend heeft

krijgt diep berouw en weent en beeft.

De haan die zijn geweten wekt,

die heeft hem aan zichzelf ontdekt.

 

Niet meer, niet meer zal hij voortaan

spreken zoals hij heeft gedaan.

De haan die zijn geweten wekt,

die heeft hem aan zichzelf ontdekt.

 

Ja dit is onze zekerheid,

dat Christus deze stille tijd

bij 't luide kraaien van de haan

uit 't rijk des doods is opgestaan.

 

Zo is de macht des doods gestuit,

de haan roept luid het leven uit,

zo breekt de helse overmacht,

de dag is sterker dan de nacht.

 

Kome het kwade nu tot rust,

worde de zwarte schuld geblust,

totdat de dood der zonde is

verwelkt in eigen duisternis.

 

De geest zij waakzaam en bereid

in wat er rest aan aardse tijd.

Totdat het einde der nacht genaakt

staat hij en arbeidt hij en waakt.

 

Roepen wij Jezus, Hem alleen,

met vasten, bidden en geween,

opdat het innige gebed

aan ’t zuiver hart de slaap belet.

 

Genoeg gewoeld, in slaap geschreid,

bedwelmd door de vergetelheid,

hoe ketent zij de zinnen nog

met boze dromen en bedrog!

 

Hoe ijdel is en vals en dwaas

de wereld en haar trots geraas,

niets dan een slaap, een droom, een waan.

O waak en neem de waarheid aan.

 

Goud en genot en voorspoed is

en eer en macht slechts duisternis,

die in het morgenlicht verdwijnt.

O waak totdat de Heer verschijnt.

 

O Christus, scheur de slaap met kracht

en breek de boeien van de nacht,

 doe van ons weg de oude schuld,

dan zijn wij van uw licht vervuld.

The wingèd herald of the day

Proclaims the morn’s approaching ray:

And Christ the Lord our souls excites,

And so to endless life invites.

 

Take up thy bed, to each He cries,

Who sick or wrapped in slumber lies;

And chaste and just and sober stand

And watch: My coming is at hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With earnest cry, with tearful care,

Call we the Lord to hear our prayer;

While supplication, pure and deep,

Forbids each chastened heart to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Thou, O Christ, our slumber wake:

Do Thou the chains of darkness break;

Purge Thou our former sins away,

And in our souls new light display.

 

Awake! the shining day is born!

The herald cock proclaims the morn:

And Christ, the soul's Awakener, cries,

Bidding us back to life arise.

 

Away the sluggard's bed! away

The slumber of the soul's decay!

Ye chaste and just and temperate,

Watch! I am standing at the gate.

 

After the sun hath risen red

'Tis late for men to scorn their bed,

Unless a portion of the night

They seize for labours of the light.

 

Mark ye, what time the dawn draws nigh,

How 'neath the eaves the swallows cry?

Know that by true similitude

Their notes our Judge's voice prelude.

 

When hid by shades of dark malign

On beds of softness we recline,

They call us forth with music clear

Warning us that the day is near.

 

When breezes bright of orient morn

With rosy hues the heavens adorn,

They cheer with hope of gladdening light

The hearts that spend in toil their might.

 

Though sleep be but a passing guest

'Tis type of death's perpetual rest:

Our sins are as a ghastly night,

And seal with slumbers deep our sight.

 

But from the wide roof of the sky

Christ's voice peals forth with urgent cry,

Calling our sleep-bound hearts to rise

And greet the dawn with wakeful eyes.

 

He bids us fear lest sensual ease

Unto life's end the spirit seize

And in the tomb of shame us bind,

Till we are to the true light blind.

 

'Tis said that baleful spirits roam

Abroad beneath the dark's vast dome;

But, when the cock crows, take their flight

Sudden dispersed in sore affright.

 

For the foul votaries of the night

Abhor the coming of the light,

And shamed before salvation's grace

The hosts of darkness hide their face.

 

They know the cock doth prophesy

Of Hope's long-promised morning sky,

When comes the Majesty Divine

Upon awakened worlds to shine.

 

The Lord to Peter once foretold

What meaning that shrill strain should hold,

How he before cock-crow would lie

And thrice his Master dear deny.

 

For 'tis a law that sin is done

Before the herald of the sun

To humankind the dawn proclaims

And with his cry the sinner shames.

 

Then wept he bitter tears aghast

That from his lips the words had passed,

Though guileless he his soul possessed

And faith still reigned within his breast.

 

Nor ever reckless word he said

Thereafter, by his tongue betrayed,

But at the cock's familiar cry

Humbled he turned from vanity.

 

Therefore it is we hold to-day

That, as the world in stillness lay,

What hour the cock doth greet the skies,

Christ from deep Hades did arise.

 

Lo! then the bands of death were burst,

Shattered the sway of hell accurst:

Then did the Day's superior might

Swiftly dispel the hosts of Night.

 

Now let base deeds to silence fall,

Black thoughts be stilled beyond recall:

Now let sin's opiate spell retire

To that deep sleep it doth inspire.

 

For all the hours that still remain

Until the dark his goal attain,

Alert for duty's stern command

Let every soul a sentry stand.

 

With sober prayer on Jesus call;

Let tears with our strong crying fall;

Sleep cannot on the pure soul steal

That supplicates with fervent zeal.

 

Too long did dull oblivion cloud

Our motions and our senses shroud:

Lulled by her numbing touch, we stray

In dreamland's ineffectual way.

 

Bound by the dazzling world's soft chain

'Tis false and fleeting gauds we gain,

Like those who in deep slumbers lie:--

Let us awake! the truth is nigh.

 

Gold, honours, pleasure, wealth and ease,

And all the joys that mortals please,

Joys with a fatal glamour fraught--

When morning comes, lo! all are nought.

 

But thou, O Christ, put sleep to flight

And break the iron bands of night,

Free us from burden of past sin

And shed Thy morning rays within.

 


 

[1] incorrect translation; ista vox = the cock-crow. It should be: This voice, at which the birds… start chirping, is the symbol of our judge

[2] Dacht Prudentius misschien aan 'goede werken' (geestelijke of andere) ? Did Prudentius think of real labour or did he mean 'spiritual good works' ? cf translation of Martin Pope.