Translating Psalms (9)

Since this is a medieval authors course for me, I’m going to follow the Vulgate numbering.  Most modern bibles, following the Hebrew text, split Psalm 9 into two psalms.  The numbering discrepancy continues until Psalm 147, at which point the Vulgate combines two psalms and we end up with 150 by both numbering systems.

Very famous psalms, like 23 or 51 or 119, will have “wrong” numbers (22, 50, 118) to modern eyes.  And with psalms this long, my mistakes will start to multiply fast.

“Confitebor tibi, Domine” (Psalm 9)

[1] In finem, pro occultis filii. Psalmus David.

Unto the end, for the secrets of the son.  A Psalm of David.

[2] Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo; narrabo omnia mirabilia tua.

I will confess to You, O Lord, in my whole heart; I will narrate all Your marvels. Continue reading Translating Psalms (9)

Translating Psalms (8)

“Domine, Dominus noster” (Psalm 8)

  1. In finem, pro torcularibus. Psalmus David.
  2. Domine, Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra! quoniam elevata est magnificentia tua super caelos.
  3. Ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti laudem propter inimicos tuos, ut destruas inimicum et ultorem.
  4. Quoniam videbo caelos tuos, opera digitorum tuorum, lunam et stellas quae tu fundasti.
  5. Quid est homo, quod memor es ejus? aut filius hominis, quoniam visitas eum?
  6. Minuisti eum paulo minus ab angelis; gloria et honore coronasti eum;
  7. et constituisti eum super opera manuum tuarum.
  8. Omnia subjecisti sub pedibus ejus, oves et boves universas, insuper et pecora campi,
  9. volucres caeli, et pisces maris qui perambulant semitas maris.
  10. Domine, Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra!

Unto the end, for the wine presses.  A Psalm of David.

O Lord, Our Lord, how marvelous is Your name in all the earth!  For elevated is Your magnificence above the heavens.

From the mouth of infants and sucklings You have perfected praise on account of Your enemies, that You may destroy enemy and avenger.

For I will see Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have founded.

What is man, that You are mindful of him? Or the son of man, that You visit him?

You have diminished him little less than the angels; with glory and honor You have crowned him;

and established him above the works of Your hands.

All things You have subjected under his feet, sheep and bulls all, and especially the flocks of the field,

the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea who wander the paths of the sea.

O Lord, Our Lord, how marvelous is Your name in all the earth!

Christus Victima Paschalis Noster

Victimae Paschali laudes immolent Christiani.

To the Paschal Victim let Christians offer praises in immolation.

Agnus redemit oves: Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.

The Lamb hath redeemed the sheep; Christ Innocent hath reconciled sinners to the Father.

Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.

Death and Life in marvelous duel collided; the General of Life, having died, reigns now living.

Dic nobis Maria, Quid vidisti in via?

Speak to us, Mary, What didst thou see on the way?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis;

The tomb of the Living Christ and Glory Rising Again did I see;

Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.

Angelic witnesses, shroud, and robes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea; praecedet suos in Galilaeam.

He hath arisen, Christ My Hope;  He shall precede His own into Galilee.

Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere; Tu nobis, victor Rex miserere.

We know Christ hath arisen from the dead truly; do You Thou for us, Victor King, have mercy.

Amen. Alleluia.

Translating Psalms (7)

“Domine Deus meus” (Psalm 7)

[1] Psalmus David, quem cantavit Domino pro verbis Chusi, filii Jemini.

A Psalm of David, which he sang to the Lord because of the words of Chusi, son of Jemini

[2] Domine Deus meus, in te speravi; salvum me fac ex omnibus persequentibus me, et libera me,

O Lord my God, in You have I hoped; make me safe from all pursuing me, and free me,

[3] nequando rapiat ut leo animam meam, dum non est qui redimat, neque qui salvum faciat.

lest ever he seize like a lion my soul, while there is none who redeems, nor one who makes me safe.

[4] Domine Deus meus, si feci istud, si est iniquitas in manibus meis,

O Lord my God, if I have done that, if there is iniquity in my hands, Continue reading Translating Psalms (7)

Translating Psalms (6)

This is going to get interesting as they get longer.  What’s my threshold for going interlinear?

“Domine, ne in furore” (Psalm 6)

  1. In finem, in carminibus. Psalmus David. Pro octava.
  2. Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me, neque in ira tua corripias me.
  3. Miserere mei, Domine, quoniam infirmus sum; sana me, Domine, quoniam conturbata sunt ossa mea.
  4. Et anima mea turbata est valde; sed tu, Domine, usquequo?
  5. Convertere, Domine, et eripe animam meam; salvum me fac propter misericordiam tuam.
  6. Quoniam non est in morte qui memor sit tui; in inferno autem quis confitebitur tibi?
  7. Laboravi in gemitu meo; lavabo per singulas noctes lectum meum; lacrimis meis stratum meum rigabo.
  8. Turbatus est a furore oculus meus; inveteravi inter omnes inimicos meos.
  9. Discedite a me omnes qui operamini iniquitatem, quoniam exaudivit Dominus vocem fletus mei.
  10. Exaudivit Dominus deprecationem meam; Dominus orationem meam suscepit.
  11. Erubescant, et conturbentur vehementer omnes inimici mei; convertantur, et erubescant valde velociter.

Unto the end, in songs.  A Psalm of David, pro octava.

O Lord, may You not in Your fury accuse me, nor in Your wrath seize me.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; heal me, O Lord, for troubled are my bones.

And my soul is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord, how long?

Turn, O Lord, and rescue my soul; make me safe on account of Your mercy.

For in death there is no one who is mindful of you; yet in hell who will confess You?

I have labored in my weeping; I will wash through each night my couch; with my tears I will water my blanket.

My eye has been troubled by fury; I have grown old among all my enemies.

Depart from me, all who work iniquity, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.

The Lord has heard my prayer of warding; the Lord has undertaken my orison.

They will be put to shame, and they will be confounded vehemently, all my enemies; they shall be overturned, and they shall be greatly put to shame speedily.

== Continue reading Translating Psalms (6)

Translating Psalms (5)

“Verba mea auribus” (Psalm 5)

  1. In finem, pro ea quae haereditatem consequitur. Psalmus David.
  2. Verba mea auribus percipe, Domine; intellige clamorem meum.
  3. Intende voci orationis meae, rex meus et Deus meus.
  4. Quoniam ad te orabo, Domine, mane exaudies vocem meam.
  5. Mane astabo tibi, et videbo quoniam non Deus volens iniquitatem tu es.
  6. Neque habitabit juxta te malignus, neque permanebunt injusti ante oculos tuos.
  7. Odisti omnes qui operantur iniquitatem; perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium. Virum sanguinum et dolosum abominabitur Dominus.
  8. Ego autem in multitudine misericordiae tuae introibo in domum tuam; adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum in timore tuo.
  9. Domine, deduc me in justitia tua: propter inimicos meos dirige in conspectu tuo viam meam.
  10. Quoniam non est in ore eorum veritas; cor eorum vanum est.
  11. Sepulchrum patens est guttur eorum; linguis suis dolose agebant, judica illos, Deus. Decidant a cogitationibus suis; secundum multitudinem impietatum eorum expelle eos, quoniam irritaverunt te, Domine.
  12. Et laetentur omnes qui sperant in te; in aeternum exsultabunt, et habitabis in eis. Et gloriabuntur in te omnes qui diligunt nomen tuum,
  13. quoniam tu benedices justo. Domine, ut scuto bonae voluntatis tuae coronasti nos.


Unto the end, for her who pursues a heritage.  A Psalm of David.

Perceive my words by Your ears, O Lord; understand my cry.

Attend to the voice of my prayer, my King and my God.

For to You shall I pray, O Lord; in the morning You will hear my voice.

In the morning I will arise to You, and I will see that You are God, not willing iniquity.

Nor shall the malignant dwell joined to You nor shall the wicked last before Your eyes.

You have hated all who work iniquity; You will destroy all who speak falsehood.

The man of bloods, and the crafty one, the Lord shall abominate.

But I in the multitude of Your mercy shall enter into Your house; I shall give praise to Your holy temple in Your fear.

O Lord, lead me in Your justice; on account of my enemies, direct my path in Your sight.

For there is not in their mouth truth; their heart is vain.

An open grave is their throat; with their tongues deceitfully do they act; judge them, O God.  Cut them off from your thoughts; according to the multitude of their impieties drive them out, for they have troubled You, O Lord.

And they shall rejoice, all who hope in You; into eternity they shall exult, and You shall dwell in them.  And they shall glory in You, all who love Your name,

for You Yourself bless the just.  O Lord, how with the shield of Your good will You have crowned us.

Translating Psalms (4)

Am I coming to terms with a stand-alone masterpiece of spiritual writing, or just trying to translate Hebrew poetry out of Latin into English?

“Cum invocarem” (Psalm 4)

  1. In finem, in carminibus. Psalmus David.
  2. Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiae meae, in tribulatione dilatasti mihi. Miserere mei, et exaudi orationem meam.
  3. Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde? Ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quaeritis mendacium?
  4. Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum; Dominus exaudiet me cum clamavero ad eum.
  5. Irascimini, et nolite peccare; quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
  6. Sacrificate sacrificium justitiae, et sperate in Domino. Multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?
  7. Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine: dedisti laetitiam in corde meo.
  8. A fructu frumenti, vini, et olei sui, multiplicati sunt.
  9. In pace in idipsum dormiam, et requiescam;
  10. quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe constituisti me.

Unto the end, in songs.  A Psalm of David

When I cried He heard me, the God of my justice, in tribulation You have enlarged me.  Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

O sons of men, how long with heavy heart, so that what you love is vanity, and what you seek is a lie?

And know that the Lord makes wonderful His holy one; the Lord will hear me when I cry to Him.

Be angry, and sin not; what you say in your hearts, on your beds repent.

Sacrifice a sacrifice of justice, and hope in the Lord.  Many say: Who shows us good things?

It is signed over us, the light of Your face, O Lord: You have given joy in my heart.

From their fruit of grain, wine, and oil, they have been multiplied.

In peace upon the self-same thing I will sleep, and I will rest;

for You, O Lord, singularly have established me in hope. Continue reading Translating Psalms (4)

Translating Psalms (3)

“Domine, quid multiplicati” (Psalm 3)

  1. Psalmus David, cum fugeret a facie Absalom filii sui.
  2. Domine, quid multiplicati sunt qui tribulant me? Multi insurgunt adversum me;
  3. multi dicunt animae meae: Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus.
  4. Tu autem Domine, susceptor meus es, gloria mea, et exaltans caput meum.
  5. Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi; et exaudivit me de monte sancto suo.
  6. Ego dormivi, et soporatus sum; et exsurrexi, quia Dominus suscepit me.
  7. Non timebo millia populi circumdantis me. Exsurge, Domine; salvum me fac, Deus meus.
  8. Quoniam tu percussisti omnes adversantes mihi sine causa; dentes peccatorum contrivisti.
  9. Domini est salus; et super populum tuum benedictio tua.

A psalm of David, when he fled from the face of Absalom his son.

O Lord, why have they multiplied, who trouble me?  Many arise against me;

many say to my soul: ‘There is no salvation for him in His God.’

But you, Lord, are my sustainer, my glory, and exalting my head.

With my voice to the Lord I cried; and He heard me from His holy mountain.

I slept, and I was made to sleep; and I arose, for the Lord sustained me.

I will not fear thousands of the people encircling me.  Arise, Lord; cause my salvation, My God.

For You have smitten all opposing me without cause; the teeth of sinners You have crushed.

Salvation is of the Lord; and over Your people is Your blessing.


Percussisti really should get a powerful verb in English.  Sadly smitten has taken on a silly, romantic air in our degenerate usage.  “For you smote” would read better, but I really want a perfect there, not a simple past: God has always done it before, and He will do it again.


Translating Psalms (2)

Watch me try to do them all in 150 days… (hah!)

“Quare fremuerunt” (Psalm 2)

  1. Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania?
  2. Astiterunt reges terrae, et principes convenerunt in unum adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
  3. Dirumpamus vincula eorum, et projiciamus a nobis jugum ipsorum.
  4. Qui habitat in caelis irridebit eos, et Dominus subsannabit eos.
  5. Tunc loquetur ad eos in ira sua, et in furore suo conturbabit eos.
  6. Ego autem constitutus sum rex ab eo super Sion, montem sanctum ejus, praedicans praeceptum ejus.
  7. Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu; ego hodie genui te.
  8. Postula a me, et dabo tibi gentes haereditatem tuam, et possessionem tuam terminos terrae.
  9. Reges eos in virga ferrea, et tamquam vas figuli confringes eos.
  10. Et nunc, reges, intelligite; erudimini, qui judicatis terram.
  11. Servite Domino in timore, et exsultate ei cum tremore.
  12. Apprehendite disciplinam, nequando irascatur Dominus, et pereatis de via justa.
  13. Cum exarserit in brevi ira ejus, beati omnes qui confidunt in eo.

Why did the nations rage, and the peoples ponder inanities?

The kings of the earth arose, and princes gathered as one against the Lord, and against His Christ.

‘Let us sunder their chains, and hurl from us their yoke.’

Who dwells in the heavens derides them, and the Lord mocks them.

Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and in His fury He will plunge them into confusion.

I, however, I have been established king by Him over Zion, His holy mountain, preaching His precept.

The Lord has said to me: ‘My son you are; I today have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will give to you nations as your heritage, and as your possession the ends of the earth.

You will rule them in an iron rod, and like a potter’s vase you will shatter them.’

And now, kings, understand; learn, you who judge the earth.

Serve the Lord in fear, and exalt Him with trembling.

Acquire discipline, lest ever the Lord be angry, and lest you lose the just path.

When His wrath blazes out in brief, blessed are all who confide in Him.


“their chains, their yoke”–the chains and burden imposed by God and His Christ.  Cf. Wisdom 3 (same for the previous psalm, for that matter)

erudimini: “git gud.”

in brevi: in a short space of time?  for a short time?  soon?  So much better to just leave it unclear.

When I was young and steeped in fancy biblical studies and Knew Things, I worried about the “extravagantly Christo-centric” readings given to psalms like this one and, by extension, the Vulgate itself for fostering them in its “pietistic” translation.  What a colossal waste of my time that worry was!

Translating Psalms to Understand Medieval Writers (1)

I had a thought sometime in the last year that it was time for me to memorize the Psalms.   Given all my other constraints, that’s a bit unlikely.  But consider this my virtual Benedictine practice, or a necessary literary foundation, or both.

“Beatus vir” (Psalm 1)

  1. Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum, et in via peccatorum non stetit, et in cathedra pestilentiae non sedit;
  2. sed in lege Domini voluntas ejus, et in lege ejus meditabitur die ac nocte.
  3. Et erit tamquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum, quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo: et folium ejus non defluet; et omnia quaecumque faciet prosperabuntur.
  4. Non sic impii, non sic; sed tamquam pulvis quem projicit ventus a facie terrae.
  5. Ideo non resurgent impii in judicio, neque peccatores in concilio justorum,
  6. quoniam novit Dominus viam justorum; et iter impiorum peribit.

Blessed the man who has not gone astray in the counsel of the wicked, and in the way of sinners stood not, and in the chair of pestilence sat not;

but in the law of the Lord is his will, and in His law shall he meditate day and night.

And he will be like a branch which is planted beside a course of waters, which will give its fruit in its time: and its leaf will not wither; and all things whatsoever shall he do shall prosper.

Not so the wicked, not so; but like dust which the wind blasts from the face of the earth.

Therefore they shall not rise, the wicked, on the judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the just,

for the Lord knows the way of the just; and the path of the wicked shall perish.


*Those quods are actually pretty interesting if you take them as “because.”

If I could paint: a stream of blood and water flowing from and alongside the wood of the Cross.  The third verse is His triumph.