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Aurora Iam Spargit Polum


A hymn once ascribed to St. Ambrose, but now generally considered to be the work either of Pope gregory the great (Blume) or of an anonymous author as late as the eighth century (Szövérffy). Its four "Ambrosian" strophes are in octosyllabic iambic dimeter. In vigorous but rather obscure language, the hymn greets the dawn and prays for the shadows of night and evil to disappear so that its singers may be fit to welcome both this and the last day. Appearing in the ninth century "Later Hymnal" (which Blume considers Irish in origin, though Wilmart and others call it "Old Benedictine"), it spread widely throughout Carolingian Europe as a hymn for Lauds on Saturdays. Closely following earlier usage, the Roman Breviary (1632) assigned it to the Saturday office from the Octave of Epiphany to the first Sunday in Lent, and from the Octave of Corpus Christi to the first Sunday of Advent. The mozarabic Breviary of 1775 assigned it to Matins for Saturdays in Lent. Among its English translators are E. Caswall ("The dawn is sprinkling in the East," Lyra Catholica, 1849) and R. Campbell ("The morn has spread its crimson rays," St. Andrew's Hymnal, 1850).

Bibliography: b. stÄblein, ed., Monumenta monodica medii aevi (Kassel-Basel 1956) 1.1:665. Analecta hymnica 51:xiiixxi, 34. c. blume, Unsere liturgischen Lieder (Regensburg 1932) 149152. m. britt, ed., The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (new ed. New York 1948). j. connelly, Hymns of the Latin Liturgy (Westminster MD 1957). a. wilmart, "Le Psautier de la reine," Revue Bénédictine 28 (1911) 341376. j. julian, ed. A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York 1957) 9394. a. s. walpole, ed., Early Latin Hymns (Cambridge, Eng. 1922) 279280. f. j. e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford 1953) 3640. j. szÖvÉrffy, Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung (Berlin 196465)

[j. du q. adams]

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