Composed by Reginald of Canterbury. Reginald was born in Poitou, sometime around 1050 and studied in France. After his studies in France, he spent the reminder of his life as a monk at St. Augustine's in Canterbury. He died sometime after 1109.
This prayer is from Reginald's Life of St. Malchus. St. Malchus (d. c 390) was a famous hermit who was a friend of St. Jerome (c 341-420). St Jerome wrote a brief history on the life and virtues of St. Malchus and it was this work that Reginald drew upon to compose his writings. The reason this excerpt has been included here is because it is easy to see that its first verse bears a striking resemblance in places to the popular prayer Angele Dei (Angel of God). Reginald's verses are indeed the source of the popular prayer we have today as well as several variations.
| Angele, qui meus es custos pietate superna,
me tibi commissum serva, tueare, guberna;
terge meam mentem vitiis et labe veterna
assiduusque comes mihi sis vitaque lucerna.
| Angele, fide comes, sapiens, venerande, benigne,
me movet et turbat mortis formido malignae
intentatque mihi poenas et tartara digne,
tu succurre, precor, barathri ne mergar in igne.
| Angele, confiteor, quia saepe fidem violavi
spiritibusque malis numeroso crimine favi
et praecepta Dei non, sicut oportet, amavi,
proh dolor, et Christum prave vivendo negavi.
| Angele, quando meos actus per singula tango
meque reum mortis video, per singula plango,
ora rigo lacrimis, mentem cruciatibus ango;
his me solve malis, et laudes votaque pango.
| Angele, me iugi tua salvet cura rogatu,
ne pro multimodo peream damnerque reatu,
me de terribili tua liberet ars cruciatu,
dignus ut angelico possim fieri comiatu.
| Angele, qui nosti, quae sunt in fine futura,
qui medicus meus es, mea spes, mea vulnera cura,
vulnera, mens quibus est, nisi cures me, peritura;
ergo mei cordis fac sint penetralia pura.