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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Veni, Redemptor gentium

It's been a while since I posted, and its been a REALLY long while since I did a long Latin translation. They take a while for me, even short songs, like the one I'm about to post. It can be frustrating, irritating, and annoying. Translating, that is. I've never been that good translation. Latin is the the only language I can sort of translate (I should be able to, having taken 5 years of it!) and even that is usually riddled with errors. The last translation I did, back in March 2010, was proofread and reviewed by other friends of mine, notably Sheila, helped review for accuracy.

No one has checked over this but me. :P

About 1600 years ago, St. Ambrose, bishop and Doctor of the Church, wrote several hymns, including this one for Advent/Christmas. The title, like any decent religious song, comes from the first line of the hymn: Veni, Redemptor gentium. Though rarely sung today, it is sung today in the song Savior of the Nations come. Martin Luther (yes, that Luther, the guy who led to the destructive splintering of the Church and Western Civilization) translated Ambrose's song into German, which was then translated (from the German) by William Reynolds. Most translations in English are variations of Reynold's from German translation. Here. Listen to how the song sounds:

I know no German. I know Latin.

So I went back to the Latin and translated the song into sort of English. I tried to have meter within the stanzas, and even tried to keep the rhyme scheme of the original song. I made some changes in the translation from the original, literally poetic license, to fit such schemes. It may not seem pretty, but hey, do you want it to be pretty or do you want it to be accurate.

Well, this one might be neither, but oh well.



VENI, redemptor gentium,

ostende partum Virginis;

miretur omne saeculum:

talis decet partus Deum.

Non ex virili semine,

sed mystico spiramine

Verbum Dei factum est caro

fructusque ventris floruit.

Alvus tumescit Virginis,

claustrum pudoris permanet,

vexilla virtutum micant,

versatur in templo Deus.

Procedat e thalamo suo,

pudoris aula regia,

geminae gigas substantiae

alacris ut currat viam.

Aequalis aeterno Patri,

carnis tropaeo cingere,

infirma nostri corporis

virtute firmans perpeti.

Praesepe iam fulget tuum

lumenque nox spirat novum,

quod nulla nox interpolet

fideque iugi luceat.

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,

tibi Patrique gloria

cum Spiritu Paraclito,

in sempiterna saecula. Amen.


O Come, redeemer of the earth

Reveal to us the Virgin’s birth;

Every age is thus amazed:

For so fitting a birth God has made.

Not from a man’s conception,

But by mystic exhalation

The Word of God is made flesh

And in a womb, fruit prosperous.

The Virgin’s womb soon expanded,

Her monkish modesty defended,

The banner of the angels fluttered,

In this temple God thus abided.

She thus proceeded from her chamber,

Modest palace of the queen mother,

A giant thus with natures two

Eager to run his course right through

Equal to the Father eternal,

Girded in the fleshy armor,

In the weakness of our bodies

Strengthening all the virtues lasting.

Now your crib still shines bright

And newer light blows into the night,

for no night can falsify

what faithful faith can clarify.

Thus, Christ, most faithful king,

To you and the Father, glory we sing,

With the Spirit, the paraclete,

In eternal eternity, complete. AMEN!