Contents Nox atra rerum contegit
The Dusky Veil of Night

This hymn is attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). The hymn is traditionally used at Thursday Matins. In the Liturgia Horarum it is the hymn for the Office of the Readings for Thursdays of the first and third weeks of the Psalter during Ordinary Time. Likewise it is found as the hymn for Thursday Matins in the Roman Breviary.

NOX atra rerum contegit
terrae colores omnium:
nos confitentes poscimus
te, iuste iudex cordium,
THE DUSKY veil of night hath laid
the varied hues of earth in shade;
before Thee, righteous Judge of all,
we contrite in confession fall.
Ut auferas piacula
sordesque mentis abluas,
donesque, Christe, gratiam
ut arceantur crimina.
Take far away our load of sin,
our soiled minds make clean within:
Thy sovereign grace, O Christ impart,
from all offense to guard our heart.
Mens, ecce, torpet impia,
quam culpa mordet noxia;
obscura gestit tollere
et te, Redemptor, quaerere.
For lo! our mind is dull and cold,
envenomed by sin's baneful hold:
fain would it now the darkness flee,
and seek, Redeemer, unto Thee.
Repelle tu caliginem
intrinsecus quam maxime,
ut in beato gaudeat
se collocari lumine.
Far from it drive the shades of night,
its inmost darkness put to flight;
till in the daylight of the Blest
it joys to find itself at rest.
Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Spiritu Sancto Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
Almighty Father, hear our cry,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord most High,
who with the Holy Ghost and Thee
doth live and reign eternally. Amen.

From the Liturgia Horarum. Translation by Joseph William Chadwick (1841-1882).

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