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.
Thou, when the fourth day was begun,
didst frame the circle of the sun,
and set the moon for ordered change,
and planets for their wider range:
Mens, ecce, torpet impia,
quam culpa mordet noxia;
obscura gestit tollere
et te, Redemptor, quaerere.
To night and day, by certain line,
their varying bounds Thou didst assign;
and gav'st a signal, known and meet,
for months begun and months complete.
Repelle tu caliginem
intrinsecus quam maxime,
ut in beato gaudeat
se collocari lumine.
Enlighten Thou the hearts of men:
polluted souls make pure again:
unloose the bands of guilt within:
remove the burden of our sin.
Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Spiritu Sancto Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
Grant this, O Father, ever One
with Christ, Thy sole-begotten Son,
Whom, with the Spirit we adore,
one God, both now and evermore.

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

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