Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Salvator mundi Domine

Compline is my favourite Hour.  While I do study the history and variants of the Breviary (recently examining the different schemes of Pretiosa, or the Chapter Office appended usually to Prime, on which I may post anon), I usually come back to Compline (indeed, I did came across a particularly curious form there of in the 1693 Lyons Breviary just the other day: thanks be for Google Books).  Of its manifold forms, that of the Dormitionists, of course, is near my own heart; but I prefer to pray the Dominican, though I have oft sung Monastic Compline in years past.

The Carmelite, however, appoints the following hymn – also used in the Sarum Office – for the time from Trinity until Advent; and its Latin is pleasant and easy (the English rendering being adapted from that of a well-known public domain website):

Salvator mundi, Domine,
Qui nos salvasti hodie,
In hac nocte nos protege,
Et salva omni tempore.

Adesto nunc propitius,
Et parce supplicantibus:
Tu dele nostra crimina;
Tu tenebras illumina.

Ne mentem somnus opprimat,
Nec hostis nos surripiat,
Nec ullis caro, petimus,
Commaculetur sordibus.

Te reformator sensuum,
Votis precamur cordium,
Ut puri castis mentibus
Surgamus a cubilibus.

Sit laus, perennis gloria,
Deo Patri, et Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito,
In sempiterna sæcula.  Amen.

(Saviour of the world, Lord,
Who have saved us today,
In this night protect us,
And save at every time.

(Be with us now propitious,
And spare [thy] suppliants,
Do thou wipe away our crimes,
Do thou enlighten our darkness.

(Lest sleep oppress the mind,
Nor lest the enemy steal upon us,
Nor lest any flesh, we beg,
Be defiled with stains.

(Thee, reformer of senses,
We beseech with the vows of our hearts,
That pure, with chaste minds,
We may rise from our beds.

(May there be praise, glory everlasting,
To God the Father, and to the Son,
Together with the Holy Paraclete,
To the endless ages. Amen.)

Would not this be indeed a fitting bedtime prayer?  Whether one prays Compline or not, in any of its forms, think on this.  (And if the Spirit inspires you, then move on to Compline, or at least to ruminate on its traditional psalms: Ps 4, Ps 30(31):1-6, Ps 90(91) and Ps 133(134)...)

Compline's texts contain a wealth of material apt for reflection.  Consider for instance its opening short reading, I St Peter v, 8-9; or its little chapter, Jer. xiv, 9, or the following responsory, "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit", or the Nunc dimittis and its anthem, or its Collect Visita quæsumus, to say nothing of the Marian anthems appended.

What of its opening blessing, "The (almighty and merciful*) Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end" – what prayer could be better?  [*O.P. addition.]

Sheppard and Tallis both set this hymn; here is Sheppard's version:

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