Dawn purples all the East with light

Dawn purples all the East with light

Translator: J. M. Neale; Author: St. Ambrose
Published in 8 hymnals

Representative Text

1 Dawn purples all the east with light;
Day o'er the earth is gliding bright;
Morn's sparkling rays their course begin;
Farewell to darkness and to sin!

2 Each evil dream of night, depart,
Each thought of guilt, forsake the heart!
Let every ill that darkness brought
Beneath its shade, now come to naught!

3 So that last morning, dread and great,
Which we with trembling hope await,
With blesséd light for us shall glow,
Who chant the song we learnt below.

4 O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
Shall live and reign eternally.

Source: Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America #354

Translator: J. M. Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >

Author: St. Ambrose

Ambrose (b. Treves, Germany, 340; d. Milan, Italy, 397), one of the great Latin church fathers, is remembered best for his preaching, his struggle against the Arian heresy, and his introduction of metrical and antiphonal singing into the Western church. Ambrose was trained in legal studies and distinguished himself in a civic career, becoming a consul in Northern Italy. When the bishop of Milan, an Arian, died in 374, the people demanded that Ambrose, who was not ordained or even baptized, become the bishop. He was promptly baptized and ordained, and he remained bishop of Milan until his death. Ambrose successfully resisted the Arian heresy and the attempts of the Roman emperors to dominate the church. His most famous convert and disciple w… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Dawn purples all the East with light
Latin Title: Aurora jam spargit polum
Author: St. Ambrose
Translator: J. M. Neale
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Dawn sprinkles all the East with light. [Translation of Aurora jam spargit polum. This hymn is ascribed to St. Ambrose; but, not being quoted by early writers, it is not received as certainly genuine by the Benedictine editors; it may be his nevertheless.] Contributed to the Hymnal Noted, 1852, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines. It is also No. 13 of Skinner's Daily Service Hymnal; and as "Dawn purples all the east with light," in the Hymnal of the American Protestant Episcopal Church, 1872. From the fact of its appearing in the Hymnal Noted it has usually been attributed to Dr. Neale. On his own authority this is an error. ("S. MSS.")

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Antiphon, p. 73, i. (iii. 2). The seven greater Antiphons are found in an 11th century manuscript in the British Museum (Harl. 2961, f. 10); and in a manuscript of the llth century, in the Bodleian (Liturg. Misc. 366, f. 53&). The metrical form “Veni, veni Emmanuel" (p. 74, l. 4) has not yet b…

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