Written by Prudentius (348-413) who was born in Saragossa, Spain, of a wealthy family. After a brilliant public career, he retired from public life to lead a life of asceticism and devotion to God. It was then that he composed his poems which have earned him the reputation of being one of the first great Christian poets of the Latin West. This hymn is taken from his Hymnus ad Galli cantum (Hymn at Cockcrow), the first of the twelve hymns composing Prudentius' Cathemerinon, or Hymns for the Day. The Hymn at Cockcrow contains twenty-five verses and the hymn below is made up of verses 1,2, 6, 21, and 25. Ales diei nuntius is a traditional morning hymn for Tuesday Lauds and can be found in the Roman Breviary minus the third verse below. In the Liturgia Horarum it is used for the Thursday Office of the Readings for the second of fourth weeks of the Psalter during Ordinary Time.
| ALES diei nuntius
lucem propinquam praecinit:
nos excitator mentium
iam Christus ad vitam vocat.
| THE WINGED herald of the day
proclaims the morn's approaching ray,
and Christ the Lord our soul excites,
and so to endless life invites.
| <<Auferte, clamat, lectulos,
aegros, soporos, desides;
castique, recti ac sobrii
vigilate; iam sum proximus.>>
| "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."
| Ut, cum coruscis flatibus
aurora caelum sparserit,
omnes labore exercitos
confirmet ad spem luminis.
| Iesum ciamus vocibus
flentes, precantes, sobrii;
dormire cor mundum vetat.
| 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.
| Tu, Christe, somnum disice,
tu rumpe noctis vincula,
tu solve peccatum vetus
novumque lumen ingere.
| Do Thou, O Christ, our slumbers wake:
do Thou the chains of darkness break:
purge Thou our former sins away,
and in our souls new light display.
| Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Spiritu Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
| All laud to God the Father be;
all praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
all glory as is ever meet,
to God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.
|From the Liturgia Horarum. Translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866). The translation is of the hymn as it appears in the Roman Breviary.|