Translating Psalms (25)

A sixth of the way there.  If I’d started at the beginning of Lent I may have finished the whole thing.  As it is, I think it’s time for a break after this one.

“Judica me, Domine” (Psalm 25)

1 In finem. Psalmus David. Judica me, Domine, quoniam ego in innocentia mea ingressus sum, et in Domino sperans non infirmabor.

Unto the end.  A Psalm of David.  Judge me, O Lord, for I in my innocence have I entered, and hoping in the Lord I shall not be infirm.

2 Proba me, Domine, et tenta me; ure renes meos et cor meum.

Test me, O Lord, and try me; burn my kidneys and my heart.

3 Quoniam misericordia tua ante oculos meos est, et complacui in veritate tua.

For Thy mercy is before my eyes, and I have been pleased in Thy truth. Continue reading Translating Psalms (25)

Translating Psalms (24)

I’ve been using Douay-Rheims Bible Online ( as my source for this little Vulgate project.  Just happened to stand at the head of Google’s list of a “psalms vulgate” search.  When you need a quick Septuagint check, just head over to

“Ad te, Domine, levavi” (Psalm 24)

[1] In finem. Psalmus David. Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam.

Unto the end.  A Psalm of David.  To You, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul.

[2] Deus meus, in te confido; non erubescam.

My God, in You I trust; may I not be put to shame.

[3] Neque irrideant me inimici mei : etenim universi, qui sustinent te, non confundentur.

Nor may my enemies ridicule me: for indeed all who rely on You shall not be confounded.

[4] Confundantur omnes iniqua agentes supervacue. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstra mihi, et semitas tuas edoce me.

Let them be confounded, all those doing iniquities pointlessly.  Thy ways, O Lord, show to me, and Thy paths teach me. Continue reading Translating Psalms (24)

Translating Psalms (23)

No, not the famous one.  That’s Psalm 22 by Vulgate/Septuagint numbering.  This is a pretty famous one too, though…and not just because Stephen Colbert famously danced to a modern rendering of it.

“Domini est terra” (Psalm 23)

  1. Prima sabbati. Psalmus David. Domini est terra, et plenitudo ejus; orbis terrarum, et universi qui habitant in eo.
  2. Quia ipse super maria fundavit eum, et super flumina praeparavit eum.
  3. Quis ascendet in montem Domini? aut quis stabit in loco sancto ejus?
  4. Innocens manibus et mundo corde, qui non accepit in vano animam suam, nec juravit in dolo proximo suo.
  5. Hic accipiet benedictionem a Domino, et misericordiam a Deo salutari suo.
  6. Haec est generatio quaerentium eum, quaerentium faciem Dei Jacob.
  7. Attollite portas, principes, vestras, et elevamini, portae aeternales, et introibit rex gloriae.
  8. Quis est iste rex gloriae? Dominus fortis et potens, Dominus potens in praelio.
  9. Attollite portas, principes, vestras, et elevamini, portae aeternales, et introibit rex gloriae.
  10. Quis est iste rex gloriae? Dominus virtutum ipse est rex gloriae.

First of the Sabbath.  A Psalm of David.  The Lord’s is the earth, and its fullness; the orb of lands, and all who dwell in it.

For He above the seas has founded it, and above the rivers prepared it.

Who shall ascend unto the mountain of the Lord?  Or who shall stand in His holy place?

Innocent in hands and clean heart, who has not accepted in vane his own soul, nor sworn in deceit to his neighbor.

This one shall accept blessing from the Lord, and mercy from the God of his salvation.

This is the generation those seeking Him, of those seeking the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up the gates, you princes, yours, and be elevated, eternal gates, and he shall enter, the king of glory.

Who is this, the king of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up the gates, you princes, yours, and be elevated, eternal gates, and he shall enter, the king of glory.

Who is this, the king of glory?  The Lord of virtues, He Himself is the king of glory.


I hate the verb praeparo.  Paro means prepare.  Praeparo means pre-prepare…?  Nah, just prepare.  But like, really fast.  Actually, I guess I just hate English for using praeparo to translate paro…  Those Anglo-Saxons did some weird stuff.

Translating Psalms (22)

Super-famous, super-short, and super-cool that it follows on the heels of Psalm 21.  Of course most people know this one, or the opening line at least, under the title of Psalm 23.  The Latin doesn’t shake out quite the same but you can still hear all the echoes:

“Dominus regit me” (Psalm 22)

  1. Psalmus David. Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit:
  2. in loco pascuae ibi me collocavit. Super aquam refectionis educavit me,
  3. animam meam convertit. Deduxit me super semitas justitiae, propter nomen suum.
  4. Nam, etsi ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis, non timebo mala, quoniam tu mecum es. Virga tua, et baculus tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt.
  5. Parasti in conspectu meo mensam, adversus eos qui tribulant me; impinguasti in oleo caput meum; et calix meus inebrians quam praeclarus est!
  6. Et misericordia tua subsequetur me omnibus diebus vitae meae; et ut inhabitem in domo Domini, in longitudinem dierum.

A Psalm of David.  The Lord rules me, and nothing shall be lacking to me:

in the place of pasture there has He gathered me.  Above the water of restoration He has led me out,

my soul He has converted.  He has led me above the paths of justice, on account of His name.

For, even if I shall walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I shall not fear evils, for You are with me.  Thy rod, and thy staff, these have consoled me.

You have prepared in my sight a table, against them who trouble me; You have anointed my head in oil; and my chalice intoxicant how splendid it is!

And Thy mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and so I may dwell in the house of the Lord, in length of days.

Translating Psalms (21)

Famously quoted during Christ’s Passion, and fittingly translated (though not posted) during Holy Week.  Nowhere else is it more obvious that the psalms are the script and soundtrack of Christ’s life.  Go all out on the typology when you read this: by the end we’ll be singing about the Church, the communion of saints, and the Eucharist!

“Deus, Deus meus” (Psalm 21)

[1] In finem, pro susceptione matutina. Psalmus David.

Unto the end, for the morning undertaking. A Psalm of David.

[2] Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti? Longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.

God, My God, regard me: why have You abandoned me?  Far from my safety are the words of my faults.

[3] Deus meus, clamabo per diem, et non exaudies; et nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.

My God, I will cry through the day, and You will not hear; and at night, and not unto folly for me.

[4] Tu autem in sancto habitas, laus Israel.

But You, in the holy place You dwell, the Praise of Israel. Continue reading Translating Psalms (21)

Translating Psalms (20)

“Domine, in virtute” (Psalm 20)

[1] In finem. Psalmus David.

Unto the End.  A Psalm of David.

[2] Domine, in virtute tua laetabitur rex, et super salutare tuum exsultabit vehementer.

O Lord, in Thy virtue shall the king be made glad, and over Thy salvation shall he exsult mightily.

[3] Desiderium cordis ejus tribuisti ei, et voluntate labiorum ejus non fraudasti eum.

The desire of his heart You have paid to him, and of the will of his lips You have not defrauded him. Continue reading Translating Psalms (20)

Translating Psalms (19)

The act of typing up my notes on various spots in the passage has been of great help in catching my mistakes.  I get halfway through griping about a difficulty when I finally realize the solution.  Lesson in there somewhere, I guess.

“Exaudiat te Dominus” (Psalm 19)

  1. In finem. Psalmus David.
  2. Exaudiat te Dominus in die tribulationis; protegat te nomen Dei Jacob.
  3. Mittat tibi auxilium de sancto, et de Sion tueatur te.
  4. Memor sit omnis sacrificii tui, et holocaustum tuum pingue fiat.
  5. Tribuat tibi secundum cor tuum, et omne consilium tuum confirmet.
  6. Laetabimur in salutari tuo; et in nomine Dei nostri magnificabimur.
  7. Impleat Dominus omnes petitiones tuas; nunc cognovi quoniam salvum fecit Dominus christum suum. Exaudiet illum de caelo sancto suo, in potentatibus salus dexterae ejus.
  8. Hi in curribus, et hi in equis; nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri invocabimus.
  9. Ipsi obligati sunt, et ceciderunt, nos autem surreximus, et erecti sumus. Domine, salvum fac regem, et exaudi nos in die qua invocaverimus te.

Unto the end.  A Psalm of David.

May the Lord hear you in the day of tribulation; may it protect you, the Name of the God of Jacob.

May He send you aid from the holy place, and from Zion may He guard you.

May He be remindful of your every sacrifice, and may your holocaust be fatty.

May He pay you according to your heart, and confirm your every counsel.

We shall rejoice in Thy salvation; and in the name of our God shall we be magnified.

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions; now I know that the Lord has made safe His Christ.  He will hear him from His holy heaven, in powers the salvation of His right hand.

These in running, and these in horses; but we in the name of the Lord our God shall we call.

These same are bound, and have fallen, but we have arisen, and been made aright.  O Lord, make safe the king, and hear us on the day in which we shall invoke You.


“nomen Dei Jacob” I’ve deliberately set this one off at the end of the sentence so I can duplicate the ambiguity of the Latin.  I like to keep the Latin word order as much as possible, and in this case the verb, “protegat,” is front loaded.  I’m pretty confident that the subject is “nomen Dei Jacob” (may His Name protect you) but because “nomen” is neuter it can work as either subject or object.  In this case, “nomen” could be appositive to the direct object, “te,” so that you are the name of the God of Jacob.  Since the Latin word order encourages the double-entendre, I fought to preserve it.

Translating Psalms (18)

Translating texts you already know really well in English is cheating, but the twists and turns are always interesting.  And taking issue with phrases of translators is, like, 9/10ths of the fun of translating anyway.

“Caeli enarrant” (Psalm 18)

[1] In finem. Psalmus David.

Unto the end.  A Psalm of David.

[2] Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei, et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum.

The heavens tell out the glory of God, and the firmament announces the works of His hand.

[3] Dies diei eructat verbum, et nox nocti indicat scientiam.

Day of day bellows the word, and night of night indicates the knowledge. Continue reading Translating Psalms (18)

Translating Psalms (17)

Ouch.  Finally hit a long one.  -Deep Breath-

“Diligam te, Domine” (Psalm 17)

[1] In finem. Puero Domini David, qui locutus est Domino verba cantici hujus, in die qua eripuit eum Dominus de manu omnium inimicorum ejus, et de manu Saul, et dixit:

Unto the end.  To David, boy of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this canticle, on the day in which the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul, and he said:

[2] Diligam te, Domine, fortitudo mea.

I shall love Thee, O Lord, my strength.

[3] Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus. Deus meus adjutor meus, et sperabo in eum; protector meus, et cornu salutis meae, et susceptor meus.

The Lord is my firmament, and my refuge, and my liberator.  My God is my helper and I shall hope in Him; my protector, and the horn of my salvation, and my sustainer. Continue reading Translating Psalms (17)

Translating Psalms (16)

It’s going to be funny when I finally get myself confused by the numbering and translate the same psalm twice without realizing it.

I am resisting the urge to go back and double-check my previous work, even though I caught myself making a funny, terrible mistake in this psalm.  Onward and upward, lest I never finish!

“Exaudi, Domine, justitiam” (Psalm 16)

[1] Oratio David. Exaudi, Domine, justitiam meam; intende deprecationem meam. Auribus percipe orationem meam, non in labiis dolosis.

An orison of David.  Hear, O Lord, my justice; attend to my prayer of warding.  With ears perceive my orison, not on deceitful lips.

[2] De vultu tuo judicium meum prodeat; oculi tui videant aequitates.

From Thy face let my judgment go forth; let Thine eyes see equities.

[3] Probasti cor meum, et visitasti nocte; igne me examinasti, et non est inventa in me iniquitas.

Thou has tested my heart, and hast visited by night; by fire hast Thou examined me, and there has not been found in me iniquity. Continue reading Translating Psalms (16)