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Te lucis ante terminum

Before the end of the day

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Te lucis ante terminum,
    Rerum Creator poscimus,
    Ut pro tua clementia
    Sis præsul et custodia.
  2. Procul recedant somnia,
    Et noctium phantasmata;
    Hostemque nostrum comprime,
    Ne polluantur corpora.
  3. Præsta, Pater piissime,
    Patrique compar Unice,
    Cum Spiritu Paraclito
    Regnans per omne sæculum.
  1. Before the end of the day,
    Creator of the world, we pray
    That with Thy wonted favor Thou
    Wouldst be our Guard and Keeper now.
  2. From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
    From nightly fears and fantasies;
    Tread under foot our ghostly foe,
    That no pollution we may know.
  3. O Father, that we ask be done,
    Through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
    Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
    Doth live and reign eternally.
Author: Ambrosian, 7th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation By J. M. Neale. There are thirty-five translations, five of which are in Mr. Shipley’s Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Compline daily throughout the year. As the Jam lucis orto sidere, which was said at sunrise, is an important part of Prime, the Morning Prayer of the Church, so the Te lucis ante terminum, which was said at nightfall, is an appropriate and equally beautiful part of Compline, the Evening Prayer of the Church. Read the separate articles on Compline and on the Te lucis ante terminum in the Cath. Encycl.
  1. “Before the end of daylight, O Creator of the world, we beseech Thee, that in accordance with Thy mercy, Thou wouldst be our Protector and our Guard.” Terminum lucis: Compline was said after sunset, but before complete darkness enveloped the earth.
  2. “Far off let dreams and phantoms of the night depart; restrain Thou our adversary lest our bodies become defiled.” Somnia, foul dreams; phantasmata (phantasma, atis), delusions. Both words convey with them the additional idea of uncleanness. In Mr. C Kent’s translation, they are rendered by “evil dreams” and “fancies with voluptuous guile.” Hostem, the devil, the great adversary of man. In the beginning of Compline we are cautioned to be vigilant, for our “adversary, the devil, goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5, 8).