French composer Gabriel Fauré wrote this piece in 1864 when he was just 19 years old. He entered it into a composition competition and won first prize. When you hear how beautiful the music is, you can see why it won!

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The words are by a C17th French playwright, Jean Racine, and are a French paraphrase of a medieval Latin hymn.

Words

Verbe égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux,
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence:
Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux.

Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix;
Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante
Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois.

Ô Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle,
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé;
Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé.

Words Medieval Latin hymn

Translation

Word equal to the All-High, our only hope of heaven,
Eternal Dayspring of the earth and sky,
We break the silent calm of the untroubled even:
Saviour divine, bend upon us thine eye.

Of thy triumphant grace pour over us the fire
That, when thou dost but speak, all hell confounds;
Dispel the lethargy of souls whose weak desire
Oft makes them of thy laws transgress the bounds.

O Christ, benignly view this faithful congregation,
Met now their edifice of praise to build;
Receive their proffered hymns, accept their true oblation,
And send them home with all thy bounty filled.

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