Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday Office of Readings Odd Week noctu

Rerum Creátor óptime,
Most noble Creator of all things
rectórque noster, réspice;
and our Ruler, look down on us;
nos a quiéte nóxia
from a sinful rest
mersos sopóre líbera.
free us who are immersed in sleep.

Who madest all and dost control,
Lord, with Thy touch divine,
cast out the slumbers of the soul,
the rest that is not Thine.

Te, sancte Christe, póscimus;
Thou, O Holy Christ, we ask;
ignósce tu crimínibus,
forgive Thou our offenses,
ad confiténdum súrgimus
we rise to confess
morásque noctis rúmpimus.
and we interrupt the lingering hours of the night.

Look down, Eternal Holiness,
and wash the sins away,
of those, who, rising to confess,
outstrip the lingering day.

Mentes manúsque tóllimus,
We raise our minds and hands,
Prophéta sicut nóctibus
by night as the Prophet (David)
nobis geréndum praécipit
commands us to do
Paulúsque gestis cénsuit.
and as Paul, by his deeds, sanctioned.

Our hearts and hands by night, O Lord,
we lift them in our need;
as holy Psalmists give the word,
and holy Paul the deed.

Vides malum quod géssimus;
Thou seest the evil we have done;
occúlta nostra pándimus,
we spread out our hidden (sins),
preces geméntes fúndimus;
groaning we pour out our prayers;
dimítte quod peccávimus.
forgive what we have done wrong.

Each sin to Thee of years gone by,
each hidden stain lies bare;
we shrink not from Thine awful eye,
but pray that Thou wouldst spare.

Sit, Christe rex piissime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna saécula. Amen.

Grant this, O Father, Only Son
and Spirit, God of grace,
to whom all worship shall be done
in every time and place. Amen.
Ascribed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). Metrical translation by Cardinal Newman.

There is an article about this hymn in the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, written by Hugh Henry, which is mostly about variants in the text and what a French author (Pimont) has to say about which of the nine variants of the text he thinks are the Original Text. One wonders why this hymn in particular has an entry in that venerable old encyclopedia, but precious few other Matins hymns (or few other hymns at all) get their own article.

We also see Propheta referring to David making another appearance in this hymn, this time with Paulus who, according to Maureen , (commenting on Sunday's Matins hymn) is often just called "the Apostle." That particular phrase contains a gerundive (or is it a gerund? all I know is it has the form of a future passive participle) geréndum which caused me to look up the difference between the two. I remember seeing a movie on TV in which a crotchety old Latin master at some private school would always ask students, "Gerund or gerundive?" (I guess the movie was this one.) Anyways, after all that, I still tranlated geréndum simply "to do."


Figulus said...

Gerundive. Definitely.

How can I tell? You may well ask.

To which I would answer, because it is the direct object of the verb praecipit. And a gerund cannot be the direct object of a verb. If you want to make a verbal noun the direct object of a verb, you would have to use the infinitive, "nobis gerere praecipit". So the meaning is that he has commanded to us a thing-which-is-to-be-done, a "gerendum". Which pretty much means exactly what you translated. Nice work, by the way.

A summary of rules for verbal nouns:

1. Infinitive (neuter, indeclinable): Can only be used in the nominative and accusative, with some extremely rare exceptions. If used in the accusative, can only be used as a direct object, not the object of a preposition.

2. Gerund (neuter, 2nd declension): Cannot be used in the nominative. In the accusative, it can only be used as the object of a preposition.

3. Supine (masuline, 4th declension): Can only be used in the ablative and accusative. In the accusative, it can only be used as the object of a preposition.

The only exception to rule 1 that I know is for those verbs that lack both gerunds and supines. Then you can use an otherwise irregular expression like "a posse ad esse" (from being able to be something to actually being it).

Figulus said...

Erm. Let me reprase #3: The accusative cannot be used as the direct object of a verb, but it need not be the object of a prepostion. There are other uses for an accusative, after all, like an accusative of direction. See the construction of the future passive infinitive for example.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Hey, Geometricus! Great idea for a new blog!