Conditor alme siderum

A Free Translation
of the
Vesperal Hymn for Advent

Conditor alme siderum

Eternal Maker of the Light,
the Loving Father, whose far rays
descend from timeless, cosmic nights
and brighten every creature’s ways;

aeterna lux credentium

Eternal Light of faithful souls,
whose Spirit falls like dew on climes
of ancient, arid, barren poles
so battered by the signs and times;

Christe redemptor omnium

Eternal Saviour of our chains;
our beauteous bail, redeeming all
who dare to hope that grace sustains
and does not execute the Fall;

exaudi preces supplicum

Eternal Vigil of the Earth,
do not be wary of our pleas;
attend when we cry out in dearth,
assaulted most when on our knees.

Qui condolens interitu

Who, suff’ring with the ruined ones
that came from dust and turned on back,
did graft your love to all the sons
of Abraham – the image cracked;

mortis perire saeculum

Who, suff’ring with entropic life
that you had called from naught to be,
fixed Deity unto its wife,
and joined the manger to the Tree;

salvasti mundum languidum,

Who, suff’ring with the sick and poor,
planned not to leave our dying age
alone, nor shiv’ring at the door,
but wrote the deed to lease its cage;

donans reis remedium.

Who, suff’ring with the blind and lame,
cast off your garments, gold and pure,
and ills were remedied; the same
may now give praise, who’ve found the cure.

Vergente mundi vespere,

As eve’ning drew its veil across
a world in final, sad decline;
and as the sun grew weak, at loss
to warm the grapes and cheer the vine,

uti sponsus de thalamo,

As eve’ning shadowed God’s foot-stool,
your charity could only take
your wisdom off, and look a fool:
a bridegroom drunk with love’s worst ache;

egressus honestissima

As eve’ning threatened all you held,
(Death, enemy with glut of hate
for all life’s scents that Adam smelled),
you went unto a garden gate;

Virginis matris clausula.

As eve’ning fled the dawning morn,
your vestal palace shone in hues
of fire; the Herald-Angel, borne
by Providence, brought down the news.

Cuius forti potentiae

Incarnate King who came to teach;
pow’r shown in patience; meek and mild,
compelling none, requesting each;
mysterious, unexpected child!

genu curvantur omnia;

Incarnate King, whose arm is strong,
yet not to quell the Roman host:
but heal; and homage from the throng
will tell: “the weakest has the most”.

caelestia, terrestria

Incarnate King of earth and sky;
you reign on clouds and rule the tides;
from moths that flit between the rye,
to nebulae that pulse and glide.

nutu fatentur subdita.

“Incarnate King!” all creatures own,
as Master of the atoms’ course,
as Wisdom on the sapphire throne,
to whom we bow the head, in force.

Te, Sancte, fide quaesumus,

To you, All-Holy One, we ask
for full, illuminated faith
to see and welcome you, our Pasch:
The Seventh Day – and more, our Eighth.

venture iudex saeculi,

To you, the Judge who is to come,
we look for justice in the New
which supercedes old Satan’s thumb,
he under whom we struggle through.

conserva nos in tempore

To you, Conserving Balm put on
by fighting souls cut down, before
the age that is to come anon,
give healing poise on which to soar;

hostis a telo perfidi.

To you, the Captain of the Guard
of El-Shaddai’s most Inner Court,
we send petition for a hard,
and brutal strike on Hell’s cohort!

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,

Christ Jesus, Loving King of Man,
your holy name calls us apart
from fear, to seal the holy bann
of marriage to God’s deepest heart.

tibi Patrique gloria

Christ Jesus, all the Father is
except to be the Father, now
we glorify you, who are His,
rejoicing in our filial vow.

cum Spiritu Paraclito,

Christ Jesus, with the Spirit, God,
effulgent rays of comfort bled
into our hearts are shed abroad,
to Him whose glory you have led.

in sempiterna saecula. Amen.

Christ Jesus, glory be for ‘ere
to you who came to us in need;
which glory (gift from all) may ne’er
your Godhead be in want or need.

 

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Sonnet XIX – Two Parties

The atheist can celebrate, but each
December’s hours are weak, before the feast
of incarnation; whence he wakes (oh beast!),
hung-over on the darkened morning’s beach.
A Christian — waiting, watching, full of trust —
himself takes up the opposite: the void
that Advent waits to fill is unalloyed.
For them a ball; for us, to wait. We must.
Then, having made our genuflection last,
— the duty that is requisite  — we’ll rise,
to greet the glorious God, and, I surmise,
receive Divinity’s embrace, who’ll blast:
“Let’s start the party, for this is the day
that I have made; rejoice now, as ye may!”

Sonnet XVIII – Advent

Immortal Jesus! Bright-Crowned Son! Come, stride
the cradle to the cross. On! Forward! Go
from weakness on to weakness, and thus show
your humble course, rejecting mortal pride.
Before the star had risen in the East,
when Earth was dark, when seasons did not strum
their music, you sealed your plan to come,
and live, incarnate: Greatest as the least.
So come, from highest cosmic glory’s throne!
The only lover of mankind! Come, Mild
One! Cloak the Loving Father in the Child,
and ransom all the little ones; your own.
Come back! Complete your reign! Begin
the end of death, that we may wake, your twin.