Light's Glittering Morn Bedecks the Sky
This hymn is from the 4th or 5th century and is often ascribed to St. Ambrose (340-397). Whether it really is his or not, it is certainly worthy of his name. The complete hymn is composed of 44 lines and is given below. In the Liturgy it is broken up in multiple hymns. In the past it was broken into three hymns, Aurora lucis rutilat, Tristes erant Apostoli, and Claro Paschali gaudio, which were altered by Pope Urban VIII to Aurora caelum purpurat (Lauds), Tristes erant Apostoli (Vespers and Matins for Apostles and Evangelists in Eastertide), and Paschale mundo gaudium (Lauds for Apostles and Evangelists in Eastertide). Today parts of it are in the hymn for Laudes.
| AURORA lucis rutilat,
caelum laudibus intonat,
mundus exultans iubilat,
gemens infernus ululat,
| LIGHT'S glittering morn bedecks the sky,
heaven thunders forth its victor cry,
the glad earth shouts its triumph high,
and groaning hell makes wild reply:
| Cum rex ille fortissimus,
mortis confractis viribus,
pede conculcans tartara
solvit catena miseros !
| While he, the King of glorious might,
treads down death's strength in death's despite,
and trampling hell by victor's right,
brings forth his sleeping Saints to light.
| Ille, qui clausus lapide
custoditur sub milite,
triumphans pompa nobile
victor surgit de funere.
| Fast barred beneath the stone of late
in watch and ward where soldiers wait,
now shining in triumphant state,
He rises Victor from death's gate.
| Solutis iam gemitibus
et inferni doloribus,
<<Quia surrexit Dominus!>>
resplendens clamat angelus.
| Hell's pains are loosed, and tears are fled;
captivity is captive led;
the Angel, crowned with light, hath said,
'The Lord is risen from the dead.'
| TRISTES ERANT APOSTOLI
de nece sui Domini,
quem poena mortis crudeli
servi damnarant impii.
| THE Apostles' hearts were full of pain
for their dear Lord so lately slain:
that Lord his servants' wicked train
with bitter scorn had dared arraign.
| Sermone blando angelus
<<In Galilaea Dominus
videndus est quantocius>>
| With gentle voice the Angel gave
the women tidings at the grave;
'Forthwith your Master shall ye see:
He goes before to Galilee.'
| Illae dum pergunt concite
apostolis hoc dicere,
videntes eum vivere
osculant pedes Domini.
| And while with fear and joy they pressed
to tell these tidings to the rest,
their Lord, their living Lord, they meet,
and see his form, and kiss his feet.
| Quo agnito discipuli
in Galilaeam propere
pergunt videre faciem
| The Eleven, when they hear, with speed
to Galilee forthwith proceed:
that there they may behold once more
the Lord's dear face, as oft before.
| CLARO PASCHALI gaudio
sol mundo nitet radio,
cum Christum iam apostoli
visu cernunt corporeo.
| IN this our bright and Paschal day
the sun shines out with purer ray,
when Christ, to earthly sight made plain,
the glad Apostles see again.
| Ostensa sibi vulnera
in Christi carne fulgida,
voce fatentur publica.
| The wounds, the riven wounds he shows
in that his flesh with light that glows,
in loud accord both far and nigh
ihe Lord's arising testify.
| Rex Christe clementissime,
tu corda nostra posside,
ut tibi laudes debitas
reddamus omni tempore!
| O Christ, the King who lovest to bless,
do thou our hearts and souls possess;
to thee our praise that we may pay,
to whom our laud is due for aye.
Translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).