Friday, October 27, 2006

A few sources

Wikipedia's capsule view of the Commedia.

There are many, many online resources helpful for reading Dante. For example, in Purgatorio VIII, Dante alludes to an old hymn sung by monks to ward off sexual and other kinds of dreams during sleep. Googling the name of the hymn, Te lucis ante, brought up this page about it, found on ChoralWiki, a large collection of music found in the public domain.

Here's the text:

Te lucis ante terminum,
Rerum Creator, poscimus,
Ut pro tua clementia,
Sis praesul et custodia.

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

Praesta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Regnans per omne saeculum.


To thee before the close of day,

Creator of the world, we pray
That, with thy wonted favor, thou
Wouldst be our guard and keeper now.

From all ill dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Withhold from us our ghostly foe,
That spot of sin we may not know.

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. Amen.

Tr. John Mason Neale, 1852, alt.

Here's background on Salve Regina, sung in Purgatorio 7.

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