Te lucis ante terminum - different texts
  • Bri
    Posts: 104
    I have noticed that there are two different texts used for the Compline hymn "Te lucis ante terminum" (see below).

    Can anyone share why there are two different sets of texts? Are these used at different times or by different groups?

    Would one be more appropriate than the other for use by a parish?

    Version #1:3 Verses
    1. Te lucis ante terminum,
    rerum Creator, poscimus
    ut pro tua clementia
    sis praesul et custodia.

    2. Procul recedant somnia
    et noctium phantasmata;
    hostemque nostrum comprime,
    ne polluantur corpora.

    3. Praesta, Pater piissime,
    Patrique compar Unice,
    cum Spiritu Paraclito
    regnans per omne saeculum.
    Amen.

    Version #2: 4 verses
    1. Te lucis ante términum
    rerum creátor póscimus
    ut sólita cleméntia
    sis præsul ad custódiam.

    2. Te corda nostra sómnient,
    te per sopórem séntiant,
    tuámque semper glóriam
    vicína luce cóncinant.

    3. Vitam salúbrem tríbue
    nostrum calórum réfice,
    tætrum noctis calíginem
    tua collústret cláritas.

    4. Præsta, Pater omnípotens,
    per Iesum Christum Dóminum,
    qui tecum in perpétuum
    regnat cum Sancto Spírito. Amen.

    Thank you for sharing any insights you may have!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Bombarde16
    Posts: 123
    I have found, in my own personal devotion, that the former is found in the Benedictine use, while the latter text seems to be more associated with the Roman use.

    Only anecdotal experience here... Nothing academic.
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • FKulash
    Posts: 79
    According to "The [Episcopal] Hymnal 1982 Companion", hymn #44, the 4-stanza version is a a combination: two stanzas (1 and 4) from the 3-stanza "Te lucis ante terminum" as posted above, and the other two (2 and 3) from "Christe, precamur, annue". All recent publications from the Vatican and Solesmes seem to have the 4-stanza version, not the one with 3-stanzas.

    Personally, I would avoid using the 2nd stanza of the 3-stanza version, "Procul recedant somnia", dreadng evil dreams. It's not what happens when we're asleep, but what we think and do while we're awake that we should worry about.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Bri
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,159
    #Bri - your 3 stanza version is the Urbanite revised text. The pre-Urban original text is:

    1. Te lucis ante terminum,
    Rerum Creator poscimus,
    Ut solita clementia
    Sis præsul ad custodiam.

    2. Procul recedant somnia,
    Et noctium phantasmata;
    Hostemque nostrum comprime,
    Ne polluantur corpora.

    3. Præsta, Pater omnipotens,
    Per Iesum Christum Dominum,
    Qui tecum in perpetuum
    Regnat cum Sancto Spiritu. Amen

    One sees that the 4 stanza version has stanza 2 of the original 3 stanza version replaced by the two stanzas pointed out by #FKulash above.

    The Wikipedia article has more information.
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,001
    The first is the Roman hymn after Urban VIII. The monastic antiphonal preserves another, slightly different text; the different text, taken up by Dom Lentini when he revised the hymns after Vatican II (NB the AM1934 isn't a reliable source, but in this case it is). The Lentini version is in the Liber Hymnarius. However, he had icks about sin and this second verse, which is surprising, because he added hymns which speak of sin, fasting, and penance (the odd inclusion of the Dies Irae, Iesu Quadragenariae for Lenten ferial Vespers…)

    Personally, I would avoid using the 2nd stanza of the 3-stanza version, "Procul recedant somnia", dreadng evil dreams. It's not what happens when we're asleep, but what we think and do while we're awake that we should worry about.


    That's nonsense, and it is revealing, at the very least, of how people think about the night and the people who are more active at night, if not about sin in general. I wish that I had the full passage, but Dom Lentini's book Te Decet Laus is out of print and was not widely disseminated. Gregory DiPippo gives this:

    Dom Lentini explains in his commentary on the reform of the hymns, of which he was the principal architect, that the crudity (crudezza) of the verse Ne polluantur corpora "clashes" (urtante), presumably with the sensibilities of that most delicate of creatures, Modern Man™, and in any case, we now understand temptation much better than they did back when the hymn was composed in the 5th or 6th century.


    In fact, I know that traditionally-inclined Benedictine abbeys are dedicated to praying Matins (in the night, or at least in such a way that their sleep is cut short…) for such people…
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • Maureen
    Posts: 675
    It's surprising, how often that I run into Catholics online who are tormented by bad dreams, or by night terrors (of the imaginary thing sitting on your chest kind), or by feeling guilty about responding to sex dreams. This stuff weighs on people, because it's largely out of a person's control.

    They are always surprised and gratified to find out that the Church not only has a tradition of prayer to be spared these things, but even a night hymn. And when I link them to recordings on YouTube or elsewhere, they seem comforted.

    The Church is a kindly mother, who knows all about our most annoying troubles. Nothing is too big or too small for her to pray about, and thus to comfort us.
  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 358
    The Te decet hymnus book is available here.
    Thanked by 1Bri