09 April, 2005

Qui vivis ante sæcula

It's taken me a week to think of it, but, on the occasion of the Pope's death, I think I'll translate a few hymns from the Office of the Dead. This one comes from Solesmes' Liber Hymnarius. If you're looking for Dies Iræ, look elsewhere; there are abundant translations on the internet. By the way, does anyone know if they sang Dies Iræ at the pope's funeral?

I'll note in passing that the Italian daily Corriere della Sera is reporting that the Vatican is collecting evidence of the pope's sanctity; apparently a number of miracles had already been reported during his lifetime. It would be something if Pope John Paul II were canonized before Pius IX, Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI (all of whom are under consideration, as I understand it).

Qui vivis ante sæcula
vitæque fons es unicus,
nos, Deus, morti obnóxios
culpæque reos áspice.
Before every age, you live, O God,
and alone are the font of life;
look on us, the submissive convicts
of death and guilt.
Peccánti, Pater, hómini
pœnam sanxísti intéritum,
ut, pulvis datus púlveri,
se súbderet piáculum.
Father, you ordained the punishment,
the ruinous penalty of sinful man:
that as dust returned to dust,
he might make an atonement.
Vitále sed spiráculum
quod indidísti próvidus,
æternitàtis pérmanet
germen immarcescíbile.
But the life-giving breath
which you providently placed within,
remains eternal,
an unfading seed.
Hæc spes, hoc est solácium:
revirescémus, Dómine,
primúsque resurgéntium
ad te nos Christus rápiet.
This is our hope, this our relief:
that this seed might grow anew,
and Christ, the first of the risen,
might take carry us to you, O Lord.
Hoc vitæ regno pérfrui
défunctum præsta fámul-um (-am),
quem (-am) Christi fides ímbuit,
quem (-am) almus unxit Spíritus.
Grant that your dead servant
whom Christ's faith filled,
whom the blessed Spirit anointed,
will enjoy fully the kingdom of life.
Hoc regnum nobis própera
e terris cum cessérimus,
ut concinámus ómnium
te finem, te princípium. Amen.
When we become free of the earth,
speed us toward that kingdom,
that all of us may sing
of you: our end, and our beginning. Amen.


chattr said...

Thanks. I linked to you at Hymns from the Office of the Dead. (Haven't set up pings yet in that blog of mine.)

What's the Latin for 'we're holding our breath'? (As in, 'we're holding our breath, waiting for the "Habemus Papam"'.)

jack perry said...

Thank you! Unfortunately, it will be a couple of days before I can post another translation, because I'm visiting friends. While I thought to bring the Liber Hymnarius with me, I didn't think to bring along a dictionary, and my Latin's not the greatest.

What's the Latin for 'we're holding our breath'?

Not sure about an idiomatic translation. A literal translation might be, tenemus spiraculum. The whole sentence might be Exspectantibus "Habemus papam," tenemus spiraculum.

jack perry said...

Eep. Maybe ablative of time isn't the best idea; changing exspectantibus to exspectantes might be wiser.

As I was saying... my Latin's not the greatest. More of a hobby; translation from is much easier than translation to.