Te lucis ante terminum
Before the end of the day
Author: Ambrosian, 7th cent.
Meter: Iambic dimeter.
Translation By J. M. Neale.
There are thirty-five translations,
five of which are in Mr. Shipley’s Annus Sanctus.
Liturgical Use: Hymn for Compline daily throughout the
year. As the Jam lucis orto sidere, which was said at sunrise,
is an important part of Prime, the Morning Prayer of
the Church, so the Te lucis ante terminum, which was said
at nightfall, is an appropriate and equally beautiful part of
Compline, the Evening Prayer of the Church. Read the
separate articles on Compline and on the Te lucis ante
terminum in the Cath. Encycl.
- Te lucis ante terminum,
Rerum Creator poscimus,
Ut pro tua clementia
Sis præsul et custodia.
- Procul recedant somnia,
Et noctium phantasmata;
Hostemque nostrum comprime,
Ne polluantur corpora.
- Præsta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
Regnans per omne sæculum.
- Before the end of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That with Thy wonted favor Thou
Wouldst be our Guard and Keeper now.
- From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
From nightly fears and fantasies;
Tread under foot our ghostly foe,
That no pollution we may know.
- 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.
- “Before the end of daylight, O Creator of the world,
we beseech Thee, that in accordance with Thy mercy, Thou
wouldst be our Protector and our Guard.” Terminum lucis:
Compline was said after sunset, but before complete darkness
enveloped the earth.
- “Far off let dreams and phantoms of the night depart;
restrain Thou our adversary lest our bodies become
defiled.” Somnia, foul dreams; phantasmata (phantasma,
atis), delusions. Both words convey with them the additional
idea of uncleanness. In Mr. C Kent’s translation,
they are rendered by “evil dreams” and “fancies with
voluptuous guile.” Hostem, the devil, the great adversary
of man. In the beginning of Compline we are cautioned to
be vigilant, for our “adversary, the devil, goeth about like
a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5, 8).
Copyright Benziger Brothers, 1922. Online Edition Copyright David M. Cheney, 2019.