Sunday, July 13, 2008

Office of Readings Sunday Odd Week noctu

When the Office of Readings is said at night or early morning:

Primo diérum ómnium,
On the first of all days
quo mundus exstat cónditus
on which the universe stands forth, having been created
vel quo resúrgens Cónditor
or on which the Creator rising again
nos, morte victa, líberat.
frees us, having conquered death.

HAIL day! whereon the One in Three
first formed the earth by sure decree,
the day its Maker rose again,
and vanquished death, and burst our chain.

2. Pulsis procul torpóribus,
Having banished sloth away,
surgámus omnes ócius,
let us all rise quickly,
et nocte quærámus pium, (Update: see comments)
and by night let us seek after the Holy One,
sicut Prophétam nóvimus.
as we know (David)the Prophet (did).

2. Away with sleep and slothful ease!
We raise our hearts and bend our knees,
and early seek the Lord of all,
obedient to the Prophet's call:

3. Nostras preces ut áudiat
That He may hear our prayers
suámque dexteram pórrigat,
and stretch out his right hand,
et hic piátos sórdibus
and cleansed of filth here
reddat polórum sédibus,
he may deliver us to heavenly homes,

3. That He may hearken to our prayer,
stretch forth His strong right arm to spare,
and every past offense forgiv'n,
restore us to our homes in heav'n.

4. Ut quique sacratíssimo
That all of us who, in this most holy
huius diéi témpore
time of the day,
horis quiétis psállimus,
sing his praise in the hours of rest
donis beátis múneret.
He may reward with blessed gifts.

4. Assembled here this holy day,
this holiest hour we raise the lay;
and O that He to whom we sing,
may now reward our offering!

[5. Iam nunc, Patérna cláritas,
Now today, Splendor of the Father,
te postulámus áffatim:
we earnestly pray you
absit libído sórdidans,
that the baseness of lust be far removed,
omnísque actus nóxius.
and every evil deed.

5. O Father of unclouded light,
keep us this day as in Thy sight,
in word and deed that we may be
from every touch of evil free.

6. Ne foeda sit, vel lúbrica
lest it should become foul or defiled
compágo nostri córporis,
the framework of our body,
per quam avérni ígnibus
so that, by the very fires of hell
ipsi crèmémur ácrius.
we should be burned severely

6. That this our body's mortal frame
may know no sins, and fear no shame,
nor fire hereafter be the end
of passions which our bosoms rend.

7. Ob hoc, Redémptor, quaésumus,
On account of this, Redeemer, we ask,
ut probra nostra díluas:
that Thou wash away our shame:
vitæ perénnis cómmoda
and that the gifts of life eternal
nobis benígnus cónferas.
Thou kindly would bestow upon us.

7. Redeemer of the world, we pray
that Thou wouldst wash our sins away,
and give us, of Thy boundless grace,
the blessings of the heavenly place.

8. Quo carnis actu éxsules
That exiled by an act of the flesh
effécti ipsi caélibes,
having made ourselves celibate
ut praéstolamur cérnui,
we await prostrate
melos canámus glóriæ.
that we might sing the hymn of glory.

8. That we, thence exiled by our sin,
hereafter may be welcomed in:
that blessed time awaiting now,
with hymns of glory here we bow. ]

9. Deo Patri sit glória
eiúsque soli Fílio
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

9. Most holy Father, hear our cry,
through Jesus Christ our Lord most High
who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee
doth live and reign eternally.

Verse 5-8 are not in Liber Hymnarius. Verse 8 is not even in Britt. I found it at this site.


Figulus said...

I came here at your invitation, which you graciously extended over at Fr. Z's blog. Thank you for this marvelous service! You are right that the hymns make up the most difficult part of the office, and I have often wished to find an explication of them.

This is a hymn that I have long had difficulty understanding, particularly the line "et nocte quaeramus pium / sicut Prophetam novimus". So I hungrily looked up your translation of that line, but I'm sorry to say I'm not really convinced. Here are my difficulties.

The line does not say "sicut Prophetam quem novimus", (like the Prophet [whom] we have known). In Latin, that quem would not optional, which makes it very different from the whom in the English, which is optional. So the fact that quem is missing leads me to believe that that Latin means something else. "Just as we know the Prophet, [so] let us seek [to know] the pius at night."

So who is this Prophet? You mention David, what makes you think so? Do we know him at night, like we seek to know the pius? If so, how so? I assume the pius is the risen Lord, am I right? Isn't it a little unusual to refer to the Lord simply as "pius"?

As long as I'm heaping it on, let me remind of you something you already know. Although "novimus" is perfect in form, it is (typically) present in meaning.

And again, let me thank you for this blog. Please keep up the good work!

Geometricus said...

Thanks for chiming in!

I was helped by Fr. Britt (The Hymns of the Breviary and the Missal, (Benziger, 1936) in his interpretation of those two lines about the prophet. At the time Britt was writing, the text was

Et nocte quaeramus Deum,
Propheta sicut praecipit:

Which Britt translates:

"...and by night seek God as the Prophet commands."

Then by way of explanation he adds: "The Prophet referred to is David, the Royal Psalmist. Media nocte surgebam ad confitendum tibi (Ps. 118,62). In noctibus extollite manus vestras in sancta, et benedicite Dominum (133,2)."

I think that his naming of David as the Prophet mentioned makes even more sense with the present text:

et nocte quærámus pium,
sicut Prophétam nóvimus.

Britt thinks that David is the prophet mentioned, because like him, we are getting up in the middle of the night to seek after God, and thus to seek after holiness.

By the way if I ever knew the "perfect-in-form, typically-present-in-meaning" bit about novimus, I definitely had forgotten it. So I'm giving it another try, thanks to your questions and insight.

OK, take two:
and by night let us seek the holy one,
like the prophet (David) we have known.

and by night let us seek after the Holy One,
as we know the Prophet (did).

Please don't be sparing in your criticism of my new translation, I loved your forthrightness in challenging my (not-all-that-well-thought-out) first interpretation.

Ferrum ferro acuitur! (Prov 27,17)

Figulus said...

Geometricus: Thank you for your reply, in particular for the quote from Britt (re psalmorum 118 et 133). I see now that reading David for the prophet makes a lot of sense.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the Latin is leaving out an implied "quaesivisse" in the phrase "sicut Prophetam novimus [quaesivisse]". This makes perfect sense. My only hesitation is that I know of no instance of novimus taking an accusative + infinitive. I'll have to think over that a bit. It seems to work when you translate it back into English: "Just as we are familiar with the Prophet [to have done]."

Maureen said...

I think this may be one of those assumed things, too. In the Fathers, if somebody mentions "the Apostle", they generally mean Paul. If somebody mentions "the Prophet", they generally mean David. Other apostles and other prophets get names attached.