Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cultor Dei memento

Prudentius wrote a lengthy Hymnus ante somnum, or Hymn before Sleep; the last seven stanzas were used as an Office hymn for Compline in some places at some seasons, at Lent, I seem to recall, which is preëminently the season of ghostly combat, when the soldier of Christ must arm himself with the Cross,  which he took up in Baptism, and with which he was marked with holy chrism in Confirmation:

Christian! the font remember,
The sacramental vow,
The holy water sprinkled,
The oil that marked thy brow!

When at sleep's call thou seekest
To rest in slumber chaste,
Let first the sacred emblem
On breast and brow be traced.

The Cross dispels all darkness,
All sin before it flies,
And by that sign protected
The mind all fear defies.

Avaunt! ye fleeting phantoms
That mock our midnight hours;
Avaunt! thou great Deceiver
With all thy guileful powers.

Thou Serpent, old and crafty,
Who by a thousand arts
And manifold temptations
Dost vex our sleeping hearts,

Vanish! for Christ is with us;
Away! 'tis Christ the Lord:
The sign thou must acknowledge
Condemns thy hellish horde.

And, though the weary body
Relaxed in sleep may be,
Our hearts, Lord, e'en in slumber,
Shall meditate on Thee.

Cultor Dei memento
te fontis et lavacri
rorem subisse sanctum,
te chrismate innotatum.
Fac, cum vocante somno
castum petis cubile,
frontem locumque cordis
crucis figura signet.

Crux pellit omne crimen,
fugiunt crucem tenebrae:
tali dicata signo
mens fluctuare nescit.
Procul, o procul vagantum
portenta somniorum,
procul esto pervicaci
praestigiator astu!

O tortuose serpens,
qui mille per Maeandros
fraudesque flexuosas
agitas quieta corda,
Discede, Christus hic est,
hic Christus est, liquesce:
signum quod ipse nosti
damnat tuam catervam.

Corpus licet fatiscens
iaceat recline paullum,
Christum tamen sub ipso
meditabimur sopore.

No comments: