Lucis Creator optime . St. Gregory the Great(?) [Sunday Evening .] This is one of the eight hymns which the Benedictine editors assign to St. Gregory (Opera, Paris, 1705, iii. col. 879). Mone gives it as No. 62, from manuscripts of the 8th century, at Darmstadt and Trier, &c. He thinks it was written in the first quarter of the 5th century, but not in Italy; and consequently neither by St. Ambrose, to whom it has often been ascribed, nor by St. Gregory, who was only born cir. 540. Daniel, i., No. 49, gives the text, and at iv. p. 49, cites it as in a 10th century Rheinau manuscript. Among the British Museum manuscripts it is found in three 11th century Hymnaries of the English Church (Vesp. D. xii. f. 9 b; Jul. A. vi. f. 22; Harl. 2961 f. 220), and in an 11th century Breviary of the Spanish Church (Add. 30848 f. 72). It is in a manuscript of the 11th century, at Corpus Christi, Cambridge (391, p. 231); and in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church (Surtees Society), 1851, is printed from an 11th century manuscript at Durham, (B. iii. 32 f. 5). Among the St. Gall manuscripts it is given in No. 20 of the 9th century; Nos. 387, 413, of the 11th century, &c.
It is included in the Mozarabic, 1502; Roman (Venice, 1478, and Rome, 1632); Sarum; York; Aberdeen and other Breviaries, generally assigned to Sunday at Vespers. Daniel entitles it "A hymn on the work of the First Day" [of the Creation]; and Mone as "1st Sunday after the Octave of the Epiphany. At Second Vespers." The text is also in Wackernagel i. No. 59; Hymnarium Sarisburiense, 1851, p. 36; Königsfeld, ii. p. 8; J. Chandler's Hymns of the Primitive Church, 1837, No. 11; and Cardinal Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
Translations in common use:—
1. Father of lights, by Whom each day. Cardinal Newman, in the Tracts for the Times, 1836, No. 75, p. 79; and again in his Verses on Various Occasions, 1868, p. 239. It is slightly altered in Blew's Church Hymn & Tune Book, 1852-55, and Rice's Selection from the same, 1870, No. 24.
2. Source of light and life divine. By J. Chandler, in his Hymns of the Primitive Church, 1837, p. 9. It is given in some hymn-books in an unaltered form, and sometimes as, "Source of light and power divine," as in the English Hymnal, 1856 and 1861, with an additional stanza (v.), and thence in Kennedy, 1863. In Thring's Collection, 1882, stanza iv. is by the Editor.
3. O blest Creator of the light, Who dost [didst] the dawn, &c. By E. Caswall, in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 13; and his Hymns & Poems, 1873, p. 8. This translation is in several hymn-books, and is the most widely used of the trs. of the "Lucis Creator optime."
4. O blest Creator of the light, Who mak'st the day, &c. By J. M. Neale, in the Hymnal Noted, 1852, No. 8; the Hymner, 1882, and others.
5. Creator of the light, Supreme ! By J. D. Chambers, in his Psalter, 1852, p. 280, and his Lauda Syon, 1857, p. 41. It was repeated, with alterations, in Chope's Hymnal, 1862. This altered text was transferred to the People’s Hymnal, 1867, and to Thring's Collection, 1882.
6. Blest Creator of the light. This translation appeared in Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1861, as a translation based upon
J. Chandler. It is really a cento thus composed, stanza i. line 1, Caswa , with ”O" left out; 11. 2-4, Compilers; stanzas ii., iii., iv., lines 1, 2, J. Chandler very slightly altered; stanza iv. lines 3, 4, Compilers; stanza v. 1. 1, Caswall, altered; lines 2-4, Compilers . This cento has passed from Hymns Ancient & Modern into a few collections.
7. Lord of all, Thy word divine . This translation in the Parish Hymn Book, 1863 and 1875, is J. Chandler's translation altered by the Editors.
8. Darkness was on the deep, 0 Lord. By A. R. Thompson. In the American Reformed Dutch Hymns of the Church, 1869.
9. Blest Maker of the light, by whom. This tr. in the Hymnary, 1872, is based upon Card. Newman's translation, as given in Blew's Church Hymn & Tune Book; and J. D. Chambers's translation in his Psalter and his Lauda Syon (see above).
Translations not in common use:—
1. Blest Maker of the radiant light. Primer. 1706.
2. 0 Thou, of light Creator best. Bishop Mant. 1837.
3. Great Maker of light, Who called forth its ray. Hymnarium Anglicanum. 1844.
4. 0 Thou Who calledst forth the light. Bp. J. Williams, in his (American) Ancient Hymns 1845.
5. Blest Maker of the light. W. J. Copeland. 1848.
6. Maker of light, most; holy King. J. R. Beste. 1849.
7. Eternal Source of light's clear stream. R. Campbell. 1850.
8. Father of the glorious light. G. Rorison. 1851.
9. Thou, light's Creator, first and best. J. Keble. 1869.
10. 0 great Creator of the light. J. Wallace. 1874.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Lucis Creator optime, p. 700, ii. Additional translations are:—
1. 0 Thou, of light Creator best (1905, "Creator Blest") in the Office Hymn Book, 1889, No. 709 ; and 1905, No. 160, takes lines. 1, 2 from Bp. Mant.
2. 0 Blest Creator of the light, in Hymns Ancient & Modern 1904, No. 15, is marked as by the Compilers. It is their former version, "Blest Creator," turned into L. M. to adapt it to a plainsong melody.
3. Source of light and life divine, in Church Hymns, 1903, is, with slight alterations, J. Chandler's translation, as altered by G. Thring.
4. Maker, by Whose unuttered word . By H. N. Oxenbam, in his Sentence of Kaires, 1854, p. 198, and A. E. Tozer's Catholic Hymns, 1898. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)