The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Creator alme siderum

Vespers, During Advent

Author: Anonymous, in the "Ambrosian" form, 7th century.
See Conditor alme siderum, the main page for this family of hymns.

This version is a cento from the Primer, 1685, and the Evening Office, 1710 by Rev. Britt

Source: Rev. Matthew Britt, O.S.B., Hymns from the Breviary and Missal (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1922), pp. 95-96.

Creator alme siderum,
Aeterna lux credentium
Jesu Redemptor omnium,
Intende votis supplicum.

Qui daemonis ne fraudibus
Periret orbit, impetu
Amoris actus, languidi
Mundi medela fatus es.

Commune qui mundi nefas
Ut expiares; ad crucem
E Virginis sacrario
Intacta prodis victima.

Cujus poteatas gloriae,
Nomenque cum primum
Et coelites et inferi
Tremente curvantur genu.

Te deprecamur ultima?
Magnum diei Judicem,
Armis supemae gratia;
Defende nos ab hostibus.

Virtus, honor, laus, gloria
Deo Patri cum Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito,
In seeculorum saecula.

Notes from Rev. Matthew Britt:

Author: Ambrosian, 7th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Version: a cento from the Primer, 1685, and the Evening Office, 1710. First line of Original Text: Conditor alme siderum. The Advent hymns were greatly altered by the revisers under Pope Urban VIII (1632). Only one line of this hymn was left unaltered, and only twelve words of the original were retained. Including both texts there are about thirty translations, nine of which are in Mr. Shipley's Annus Sanctus, both texts being represented. Liturgical Use: Vespers hymn for Sundays and week-days during Advent.

The hymns and antiphons of Advent present in a concise and admirable manner the leading ideas of that holy season.

1. "O Jesus, kind Creator of the stars, eternal light of the faithful, Redeemer of all, give ear to the prayers of Thy suppliants.'' Creator: Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est (John 1, 3). Lux: Erat lux vera, qu illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum (John 1, 9).

2. "Thou wast impelled by the power of love to become a remedy for the languid world, lest mankind should perish through the cunning of the devil." Constr. Qui actus impetu amoris, factus es medela mundi languidi, ne orbis fraudibus dmonis periret. Actus=commotus.

3. "To expiate the common guilt of mankind, Thou, a spotless Victim, didst go forth to the Cross from the sacred womb of a Virgin."

4. "The might of Thy glory is such that as soon as Thy name is uttered, the blessed and the damned alike bend with trembling knee." Cujus (est). Nomen: Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur clestium, terrestrium et infernorum (Philip. 2, 10).

5. "We beseech Thee, great Judge of the last day, defend us from our enemies with weapons of heavenly grace."

Authorship information from Rev. Britt, pp 355-356:

Ambrosian. A great many hymns, mostly of the fifth or sixth century, are styled Ambrosiani Ambrosian hymns. They are so styled either because they were formerly supposed to have been written by St Ambrose, or because they imitate the stanzaic form, the style, meter and austere objectiveness of the genuine hymns of the Saint. It is now known for certain that many hymns formerly thought to be his are the compositions of unknown writers. These hymns are uniformly written in Iambic dimeter. The term Ambrosian implies no ascription of authorship, but merely a poetical form. Hymns [in Britt's collection]: 1, 5, 20, 21, 22, 29, 35, 36, 37, 38, 50, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 69, 71, 155, 157, 161, 162.

Editor's Note:

For a side-by-side comparison of Conditor alme siderum and Creator alme siderum, see Conditor & Creator in Daniel, Thesaurus Hymnologicus.

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