Gregory I., St., Pope. Surnamed The Great. Was born at Rome about A.D. 540. His family was distinguished not only for its rank and social consideration, but for its piety and good works. His father, Gordianus, said to have been the grandson of Pope Felix II. or III., was a man of senatorial rank and great wealth; whilst his mother, Silvia, and her sisters-in-law, Tarsilla and Aemiliana, attained the distinction of canonization. Gregory made the best use of his advantages in circumstances and surroundings, so far as his education went. "A saint among saints," he was considered second to none in Rome in grammar, rhetoric, and logic. In early life, before his father's death, he became a member of the Senate; and soon after he was thirty and ac… Go to person page >
Audi, benigne Conditor. St. Gregory the Great. [Lent.] This hymn is given in St.Gregory's Works (see Migne's Patrologia, tom. 78, col. 849, 850.) In the Roman Breviary,1632 it occurs, almost unaltered, as the hymn at Vespers on the Saturday before the First Sunday in Lent, to the Saturday before Passion Sunday (the last exclusively), when the Ferial Office is said, Sundays included. In the Hymnarium Sarisburiense London, 1851, it is given as the hymn at Lauds on the First Sunday in Lent, and daily to the 3rd Sunday. In York and St. Alban’s, it is the hymn for the first four Saturdays in Lent and the following Sundays at Vespers. At Canterbury (from a manuscript at Lambeth, No. 538, of the 15th century, which states "these are the offices to the observance of which every monk of Christ Church, Canterbury, is held bound"), it is on Saturdays and Sundays, in Lent, at Vespero. At Evesham, First and 2nd Sun. at Vespers, and at Worcester and St. Andrew-de-Bromholm (Norfolk), it is set down as a Vesper hymn in Lent. In the British Museum it is found in three manuscripts of the 11th century (Harl. 2961, f. 236 b; Vesp. D. xii., f. 51; Jul. A. vi., f. 45). In the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, p. 62, it is from an 11th century manuscript at Durham. The text is also in Daniel, i., No. 149, and with additional notes at iv. p. 121; in Wackernagel, i., No. 100; Card. Newman's Hymni Eccl., 1838 and 1865, and others. [Rev. W. A. Shoults, B.D.]
Translations in common use:—
1. Father of mercies, hear, Thy pardon, &c. By Bishhop G. W. Doane, first published in his Songs by the Way, 1824, from whence it passed into Hall's Mitre, 1836; Cooke & Denton's Hymnal, 1853; the Sarum, 1868; New Mitre, 1875; Kennedy, 1863, No. 394, and others. (Original translation in Songs by the Way, ed. 1875.) This translation is sometimes attributed, as in Miller's Singers & Songs, p. 12, to Dr. Neale, in error.
2. Thou loving Maker of mankind. By E. Caswall, from the Roman Breviary text. Appeared in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 70, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and again in his Hymns & Poems, 1873, p. 39. It is given in several Roman Catholic and other col¬lections, and altered as, "0 loving Maker of mankind," in the Hymnary, 1872, No. 211.
3. Benign Creator, hear, By W. J. Blew, from the Paris Breviary, printed on broadsheet for use in his church, circ. 1850, and published in his Church Hymn & Tune Book, 1852, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines.
4. 0 Maker of the world, give ear. By J. M. Neale. Appeared in the Hymnal Noted, 1852, from whence it passed into Murray's Hymnal, 1852, and several later collections.
5. Father of Mercies, fear, Before Thy throne, &c. By J. A. Johnston. Contributed to his English Hymnal, 1852 to 1861, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines.
6. 0 Merciful Creator, hear, Regard our, &c. By J. D. Chambers, in his Lauda Syon, 1857, i. p. 129, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines. This has been repeated in the edition of 1860; in Dr. Irons's Hymns, 1866; the People's Hymnal, 1867, &c.
7. 0 Merciful Creator, hear, To us in pity, &c. This rendering in Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1861 and 1875, Pott's Hymns, 1861, Church Hymns, 1871, &c, is a cento from the translations of Neale, Chambers, and others. It is said in the Index to Hymns Ancient & Modern to be by the " Rev. J. M. Neale, D.D., and Compilers: from the Latin." It seems from Mr. Ellerton's note in Church Hymns , that the Rev. F. Pott was one of those "Compilers," and that to him this arrangement is mainly due.
8. 0 gracious Father, bend Thine ear. Two hymns, beginning with this same stanza, are in common use (1) in the Parish Hymn Book 1863; and (2) in Chope's Hymnal, 1864, The latter is the Parish Hymn Book text, with another stanza (ii.).
Translations not in common use:—
1. O Merciful Creator! hear our prayer. By Drummond, 1619, in Heber's Hymns, 1827.
2. Thou gracious Author of our days. J. Chandler, 1837.
3. Hear, our all-gracious Father, hear. Mant, 1837.
4. Merciful Maker, hear our call. Williams, 1839.
5. Gracious Creator, hear. Copeland, 1848.
6. Father of Mercies, pitying hear. Rorison, 1851.
7. O merciful Creator, heed. Hewett, 1859.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Audi, benigne Conditor, p. 91, i. This is found in a Rheinau manuscript of the 10th century (see Daniel, iv. 121), the Bern manuscript, No. 455, of the 10th century, and in several of the 11th century, in addition to those named on p. 91, i. ii, We may add that this is one of the eight hymns which the Benedictine editors assign to St. Gregory.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)