Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Veni, redemptor gentium

Today in celebration of the feast of St. Ambrose, my Latin professor had us translate a fourth-century Ambrosian hymn. My Latin is far from expert, but I thought in the spirit of Advent (and because I'm doing a poor job posting anything for you this semester) I'd give you my best shot at a translation. Better Latinists out there are welcome to correct me for the benefit of all.

* * *
Intende, qui regis Israel,
Hark, King of Israel,
super Cherubim qui sedes,
who sits above the Cheribum,
appare Ephraem coram, excita
who appeared to Ephraim, stir up
potentiam tuam et ueni.
your power and come!

Veni, redemptor gentium,
Come, redeemer of nations,
ostende partum uirginis;
show forth your virgin birth;
miretur omne saeculum:
let all the ages rejoice:
talis decet partus Deo.
for such befits the birth of God.

Non ex virili semine,
Not out of the seed of man,
sed mystico spiramine
but out of the Holy Spirit
uerbum Dei factum est caro
the word of God is made flesh
fructusque uentris floruit.
and the fruit of the womb blossoms.

Alvus tumescit uirginis,
The womb of the virgin swells,
claustrum pudoris permanet,
the seal of chastity remains,
uexilla uirtutum micant:
the standards of virtue shine:
uersatur in templo Deus.
God is turned within his temple.

Procedat e thalamo suo,
Let him advance from his chamber,
pudoris aula regia,
from the royal courtyard of chastity,
geminae gigas substantiae
the giant with twin substances
alacris ut currant uiam.
keen to hasten on his course.

Egressus eius a Patre,
Going out from the Father,
regressus eius ad Patrem;
returning to the Father;
excursus usque ad inferos,
going out even to Hell,
recursus ad sedem Dei.
returning to the seat of God.

Aequalis aeterno Patri,
You who are equal to the eternal Father,
carnis tropheo cingere,
gird yourself with a trophy of flesh,
infirma nostri corporis
strengthening the weaknesses of our body
uirtute firmans perpeti.
with your eternal virtue.

Praesepe iam fulget tuum,
Now your stable gleams,
lumenque nox spirat nouum,
and a new light shines forth,
quod nulla nox interpolet
where no night corrupts
fidesque iugi luceat.
may perpetual faith shine forth.

1 comment:

Ashleigh B said...

I thought this was cool because 1) our son's name is Ambrose and 2) Jeremiah translated some poems of Ambrose back when he took Latin over a summer at Fuller. (He has admittedly not done much with it since, but he enjoyed it then and hopes to improve in the future!) The one he can remember doing was "Aeterne Rerum Conditor." I enjoyed reading yours! It felt like a very smooth translation, and it was great to read during Epiphany, even though your originally meant it for Advent. :-)