Hymnus Ad Galli Cantum

Representative Text

Ales diei nuntius
lucem propinquam
nos excitator mentium
iam Christus ad vitam vocat.

Auferte, clamat, lectulos
aegros, soporos, desides:
castique recti ac sobrii
vigilate, iam sum proximus.

Post solis ortum fulgidi
serum est cubile spernere,
ni parte noctis addita
tempus labori adieceris.

Vox ista, qua strepunt aves
stantes sub ipso culmine
paulo ante quam lux emicet,
nostri figura est iudicis.

Tectos tenebris horridis
stratisque opertos segnibus
suadet quietem linquere
iam iamque venturo die.

Ut, cum coruscis flatibus
aurora caelum sparserit,
omnes labore exercitos
confirmet ad spem luminis.

Hic somnus ad tempus datus
est forma mortis perpetis,
peccata ceu nox horrida
cogunt iacere ac stertere.

Sed vox ab alto culmine
Christi docentis praemonet,
adesse iam lucem prope,
ne mens sopori serviat:

Ne somnus usque ad terminos
vitae socordis opprimat
pectus sepultum crimine
et lucis oblitum suae.

Ferunt vagantes daemonas
laetos tenebris noctium,
gallo canente exterritos
sparsim timere et cedere.

Invisa nam vicinitas
lucis, salutis, numinis
rupto tenebrarum situ
noctis fugat satellites.

Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius

Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, "The Christian Pindar" was born in northern Spain, a magistrate whose religious convictions came late in life. His subsequent sacred poems were literary and personal, not, like those of St. Ambrose, designed for singing. Selections from them soon entered the Mozarabic rite, however, and have since remained exquisite treasures of the Western churches. His Cathemerinon liber, Peristephanon, and Psychomachia were among the most widely read books of the Middle Ages. A concordance to his works was published by the Medieval Academy of America in 1932. There is a considerable literature on his works. --The Hymnal 1940 Companion… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Ales diei nuntius
Title: Hymnus Ad Galli Cantum
Author: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius
Language: Latin
Publication Date: 1905
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.


Ales diei nuntius. A. C. Prudentius. [Tuesday Morning.] This hymn is No. 1 in the Cathemerinon of Prudentius, and is in 25 stanzas of 4 lines. The cento in use is composed of st. i., ii, xxi., xxv. of the poem, and will be found in Daniel, i., No. 103 ; additional notes, ii. p. 382 ; iv. p. 39. In the Roman Breviary it is the hymn for Tuesday at Lauds. Also in the Hymnarium Sarisburiense, London 1851, pp. 47, 48; which contains, besides the Sarum text, variations from the York Use; and among different readings from Monastic Uses, those of St. Alban's, Evesham, Worcester, St. Andrew de Bromholm (Norfolk). It is also in the Aberdeen Breviary and others.

The text of this cento is also found in three manuscripts of the 11th century in the British Museum; in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, p. 18, it is printed from a Durham manuscript of the 11th century; in Macgill's Songs of the Christian Creed and Life, 1876 and 1879; and others. [Rev.W. A. Shoults, B.D.]

Translations common use:—
1. Hark! the bird of day sings dear. By W. J. Blew. First published on a broadsheet, with music, c. 1850, and then in The Church Hymn &Tune Book 1852, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines. It was repeated in Rice's Hymns, 1870, No. 107. This translation is from the Sarum Breviary text.
2. The winged herald of the day. By J. M. Neale. First published in the enlarged ed. (1st ed. 1852) of the hymnal noted, 1854, No. 19, and continued in later editions. This translation also from the Sarum text.
3. Day's herald bird, with descant clear. By J. D. Chambers, in his Lauda Syon 1857, from the Sarum text, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines. In 1867 it was rewritten as, "The herald bird of day proclaims," in the People's Hymnal No. 424.
4. The bird, the harbinger of light. A cento in the Hymnary, 1872, No. 23. It is compiled from all the above, together with Bishops Mant and Caswall.

Translations not in common use:—
1. The bird, the harbinger of light. Mant, 1837.
2. Now, while the herald bird of day. Caswall, 1849.
3. The cock's shrill horn proclaims the morn. Copeland, 1848.
4. The bird that hails the early morn. Macgill, 1876.
5. The bird that heralds in the light. Macgill, 1876. The whole hymn is also translated in J. Banks's Nugae, 1854, pp. 157-161, as "The herald bird, the bird of morn."
6. The bird of day, messenger. In the 1545 Primer, and, as a reprint, in E. Burton's Three Primers of Henry VIII., 1834.

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Ales diei nuntius, p. 38, i. This hymn is in a manuscript of the 5th century in the Bibliothèque Nationale Paris (Lat. 8084, f. l); in an 8th century manuscript at Trier (Mone i. p. 372); and several of the 11th century, and later dates.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)


Ales diei nuntius, p. 38, i. Other translations are:—
1. The herald bird, in accents clear, in the Office Hymn Book, 1889, No. 715, and 1905, No. 165.
2. As the bird, whose clarion gay . A spirited version by W. J. Courthope, contributed to the S.P.C.K. Church Hymns, 1903, No. 61. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



Instances (1 - 3 of 3)
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Hymns and Chorales #164


Hymns of Prudentius translated by R. Martin Pope, The #1L

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The Oxford Hymn Book #333

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