A Poor Brother's Hymnal
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
  Au­ro­ra coel­um pur­pur­at / When Morning Purples All the Sky
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthinians 15:26

Words: Un­known au­thor, 6th Cen­tu­ry (Au­ro­ra coel­um pur­pur­at); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Al­ex­an­der R. Thomp­son, 1861.
Music: Prince of Peace, John B. Dykes, 1874 (MI­DI, score).

If you have ac­cess to a pic­ture of Al­ex­an­der Thomp­son that we could put on­line, please click here.

The morning purples all the sky,
The air with praises rings,
Defeated hell stands sullen by,
The world exulting sings.

Refrain
Glory to God! our glad lips cry;
All praise and worship be
On earth, in heaven, to God most high,
For Christ’s great victory,
For Christ’s great victory.

While He, the King all strong to save,
Rends the dark doors away,
And through the breaches of the grave,
Strides forth into the day.  R:

Death’s captive, in his gloomy prison,
Fast fettered He has lain,
But He has mastered death, is risen,
And death now wears the chain.  R:

The shining angels cry, “Away
With grief; no spices bring;
Not tears, but songs, this joyful day,
Should greet the rising King!”  R:

That Thou our Paschal Lamb may’st be,
And endless joy begin.
Jesus, Deliverer, set us free
From the dread death of sin.  R:


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,
<>
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
praedixit mulieribus,
<
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
desideratam Domini.
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,
resurrexisse Dominum
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).
 --------------------

Aurora lucis rutilat,
caelum laudibus intonat,
mundus exultans iubilat,
gemens infernus ululat.

The dawn light glows in gold and red.
The sky His praise with thunder said.
The world, exulting, jubilates;
Hell — wounded, groaning — ululates.

Cum rex ille fortissimus,
mortis confractis viribus,
pede conculcans tartara
solvit catena miseros!

For He, the strongest king, for men
Has broken Death and caused its end;
Trod Tartarus beneath His feet,
Loosed poor folk’s chains of shamed defeat.

Ille, qui clausus lapide
custoditur sub milite,
triumphans pompa nobile
victor surgit de funere.

He who was shut in by a stone
With soldiers set to watch his bones –
With saints behind Him on parade,
He rises up now from the grave.

Solutis iam gemitibus
et inferni doloribus,
“Quia surrexit Dominus!”
resplendens clamat angelus.

And so, with those whom He did free
From Hell and groans and misery,
An angel shining like a flame
“The Lord is risen!” does proclaim.

--------------

Aurora coelum purpurat,
Aether resultat laudibus,
Mundus triumphans jubilat,
Horrens avernus infremit:

Rex ille dum fortissimus
De mortis inferno specu
Patrum senatum liberum
Educit ad vitae jubar.

Cujus sepulchrum plurimo
Custode signabat lapis,
Victor triumphat, et suo
Mortem sepulchro funerat

Sat funeri, sat lacrimis,
Sat est datum doloribus:
Surrexit exstinctor necis,
Clamat coruscans angelus.

Et sis perenne mentibus
Paschale Jesu gaudium,
A morte dira criminum
Vitae renatos libera.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
In sempiterna saecula.
Amen.

---------------

The morn had spread her crimson rays,
When rang the skies with shouts of praise;
Earth joined the joyful hymn to swell,
That brought despair to vanquished hell.

He comes victorious from the grave,
The Lord omnipotent to save,
And brings with him to light of day
The saints who long imprisoned lay.

Vain is the cavern’s three-fold ward —
The stone, the seal, the armed guard;
O death, no more thine arm we fear,
The Victor’s tomb is now thy bier.

Let hymns of joy to grief succeed,
We know that Christ is risen indeed;
We hear his white-robed angel’s voice,
And in our risen Lord rejoice.

With Christ we died, with Christ we rose,
When at the font his name we chose;
Oh, let not sin our robes defile,
And turn to grief the paschal smile.

Hymns of glory, songs of praise,
Father, unto Thee we raise;
Risen Lord, all praise to Thee,
Ever with the Spirit be
Amen.

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