Translating Psalms (70)


“In te, Domine” (Psalm 70)

[1] Psalmus David, filiorum Jonadab, et priorum captivorum. In te, Domine, speravi; non confundar in aeternum;

A psalm for David, of the sons of Jonadab, and of the former captives.  In You, O Lord, have I hoped; may I not be dismayed into the eternal;

[2] in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me : inclina ad me aurem tuam, et salva me.

in Your justice free me and rescue me; incline to me Your ear and save me.

[3] Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum munitum, ut salvum me facias : quoniam firmamentum meum et refugium meum es tu.

Be for me as a God-protector and as a fortified place that You may make me safe, for my support and my refuge are You.

[4] Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris, et de manu contra legem agentis, et iniqui :

My God, rescue me from the hand of sinners and from the hand of one acting against me and of one unjust,

[5] quoniam tu es patientia mea, Domine; Domine, spes mea a juventute mea.

for You are my patience, Lord, O Lord, my hope from my youth.

[6] In te confirmatus sum ex utero; de ventre matris meae tu es protector meus; in te cantatio mea semper.

In You I am made strong from the belly; from the womb of my mother You are my protector; in You my singing always.

[7] Tamquam prodigium factus sum multis; et tu adjutor fortis.

Like a wonder I am made for the many, and You my helper mighty.

[8] Repleatur os meum laude, ut cantem gloriam tuam, tota die magnitudinem tuam.

It is filled, my mouth, with praise, that I may sing Your glory, all the day Your greatness.

[9] Ne projicias me in tempore senectutis; cum defecerit virtus mea, ne derelinquas me.

May You not cast me off in the time of old age; when it has failed, my strength, may You not abandon me.

[10] Quia dixerunt inimici mei mihi : et qui custodiebant animam meam consilium fecerunt in unum;

Since they have spoken, my enemies, to me–and those who were guarding my soul have made counsel as one–

[11] dicentes : Deus dereliquit eum : persequimini et comprehendite eum, quia non est qui eripiat.

saying, “God has abandoned him.  Pursue and seize him, since there is none who would rescue.”

[12] Deus, ne elongeris a me; Deus meus, in auxilium meum respice.

God, may You not be afar from me; my God, unto my help look back.

[13] Confundantur et deficiant detrahentes animae; operiantur confusione et pudore qui quaerunt mala mihi.

Let them be dismayed and let them fail, them dragging off of soul; let them be covered up by confusion and shame who seek evils for me.

[14] Ego autem semper sperabo, et adjiciam super omnem laudem tuam.

Whereas I, ever will I hope and cast over everyone Your praise.

[15] Os meum annuntiabit justitiam tuam, tota die salutare tuum. Quoniam non cognovi litteraturam,

My mouth will announce Your justice, all the day Your salvation.  Because I have not known grammar

[16] introibo in potentias Domini; Domine, memorabor justitiae tuae solius.

I will enter into the powers of the Lord; O Lord, I will be remindful of Your justice alone.

[17] Deus, docuisti me a juventute mea; et usque nunc pronuntiabo mirabilia tua.

God, You have taught me from my youth and even until now will I tell forth Your marvels.

[18] Et usque in senectam et senium, Deus, ne derelinquas me, donec annuntiem brachium tuum generationi omni quae ventura est, potentiam tuam,

And even into the old and the aged, O God, may You not abandon me, until I announce Your arm to every generation which is to come, Your power, 

[19] et justitiam tuam, Deus, usque in altissima; quae fecisti magnalia, Deus : quis similis tibi?

and Your justice, O God, even into the highest; which great things You have made, O God: who is like to You?

[20] Quantas ostendisti mihi tribulationes multas et malas! et conversus vivificasti me, et de abyssis terrae iterum reduxisti me.

How great the troubles You have shown to me, many and evil! and having turned You have made me live and from the abysses of the earth on a journey You have led me back.

[21] Multiplicasti magnificentiam tuam; et conversus consolatus es me.

You have multiplied Your greatness; and having turned You have consoled me.

[22] Nam et ego confitebor tibi in vasis psalmi veritatem tuam, Deus; psallam tibi in cithara, sanctus Israel.

For I, even I will confess to You in instruments of a psalm Your truth, O God; I will sing psalm to You on the lyre, O Holy of Israel.

[23] Exsultabunt labia mea cum cantavero tibi; et anima mea quam redemisti.

They will exsult, my lips, when I sing to You; also my soul which You have redeemed.

[24] Sed et lingua mea tota die meditabitur justitiam tuam, cum confusi et reveriti fuerint qui quaerunt mala mihi.

And also my tongue all the day will ponder Your justice, when confused and afraid are they who seek evils for me.


v. 13 animae Another quirk of the Vulgate.  Detraho is a simple transitive verb that lives a happy life governing a simple direct object.  When it wants to dress up and live the fancy life, detraho also takes de or ex phrases indicating where you are drawing something from.  I don’t think it ever does anything with a genitive (dative?)…until the Vulgate.

v. 15 litteraturam The parent of our English word “literature,” derived from the simple word for “letters,” and translating the initial stage of education known in Greek as grammatike.  The idea is that he doesn’t have even the basic form of learning, not just fancy edumacation.  The question is how best to render here–a liberal arts fan would recognize “grammar” here but a wider audience is likely to misconstrue.

v. 18 in senectam et senium I hate these pairs as a translator.  I have nothing against them as a Latin phrase or a Hebraism; I just don’t have a good way to bring them into English in the way I would like.  I cheated a bit but I think my second-best move was the deplorable “old age and senility.”

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