An anonymous text traditionally used at Vespers (evening prayer) during Advent, "Conditor Alme Siderum" was revised in the 17th century under Pope Urban and became "Creator Alme Siderum" with a different set of lyrics. In recent years churches and choirs --those who use the Latin, anyway-- have returned to the original "Conditor" version. Many English translations exist.
Here is a Gregorian chant version in Latin sung by alternating men's and women's voices. (For some reason, the "Creator" version is used.)
Conditor alme siderum,The latin word conditor has many meanings: it means author, composer, creater, builder, founder, and preserver. So all those connotations are there when we sing "conditor alme siderum." Alme is the same word as alma in "alma mater."
aeterna lux credentium,
Christe, redemptor omnium,
exaudi preces supplicum.Nourishing author* of the stars,
eternal light of those who believe,
Christ, redeemer of all
answer the prayers of those who beseech you.
The above translation from the Latin is mine and is obviously not in verse. It is a more literal translation than the formal poetic translations like John Mason Neale's (from the Episcopal Hymnal 1982):
Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light;
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear thy servants when they call.
|Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, NASA photo via HubbleSite.org|
Later, the hymn expresses fear, even dread, but also the hope and assurance of protection.
Te, Sancte, fide quaesumus,
venture iudex saeculi,
conserva nos in tempore
hostis a telo perfidi.
Holy One, in faith we beg You,
You the judge of the world about to come,
guard us in this present era
from the weapon of the treacherous enemy.
(My translation again, with a little help from an existing one.)