Sunday, May 15, 2005

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Sequence for Pentecost

Veni, sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Come, holy Spirit, and send down from heaven the ray of your light.

Veni pater pauperum,
veni dator munerum,
veni lumen cordium.

Come, father of the poor, come, giver of riches, come, light of hearts.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes anime,
dulce refrigerium.

Best comforter, sweet guest of souls, sweet refreshment.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solatium.

Rest in labor, temperateness in heat, solace in weeping.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

O most blessed light, fill the inmost hearts of your faithful.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Without your divinity, there is nothing in man, there is nothing harmless.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Wash what is dirty, water what is dry, cure what is wounded.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Bend what is rigid, warm what is cold, guide what is wayward.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Give to your faithful, who trust in you, the holy sevenfold [gift].

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium. Amen.

Give the reward of virtue, give the result of salvation, give eternal joy. Amen.

* * *

This is my own translation; hence it is extremely awkward, and as literal as I could make it and still speak English. However, there are plenty of less literal translations out there. The verse one is actually not too far from the Latin; however, it is very ungraceful, in my opinion. The Latin is short, sweet, and light; the English is heavy and bumbling, adding all sorts of extra words. But I guess that's unavoidable when you translate a compact language like Latin.

The Pentecost sequence is one of my favorite Latin prayers, and the music is superb. It's one of those chant melodies that changes tune every two verses--but once you learn it, it's a joy to sing. Singing is praying twice--and Gregorian chant is praying three times, I think.

1 comment:

Annie Anniette said...

This is wonderful!