any Latin scholars out there?
  • Hoping that one of our resident experts in Latin can give a good translation for these verses. Not looking for one of those old rhyming translations, just something simple. Many thanks!

    O Caput cruentatum, Spinarum acie
    Consputum, verberatum, Orbatum specie:
    Fac meam serta spissa Cervicem quatiant,
    Ut humiles de missa Jam sensus nutriant

    O caro trita nodis Immanis militis
    Ignara licet fraudis Pungendi fomitis
    Fac mea, labe tersa, Quae sordent fugiat,
    Ac sanguine conspersa Quae nitent sapiat

    O pulchrae clavis palmae Praefixae stipiti
    Dispensatrices almae Amoris inclyti
    Configite me cruci Ut mihi moriar
    Et mundo vivens luci Superna largiar

    O Pedes perforati Furore nimio
    Per vias fatigati In pacis nuntio
    Fons scatens nostros pedes Ad opus foveat
    Laborum tot haeredes Nos zelus urgeat.

    O cor transverberatum Longini cuspide,
    Quin flammae conquassatum Ardore validae
    In te da penetrare Cor meum penitus
    Tuosque respirare Per sacros halitus. Amen.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,439
    I want to say that Fr. Rossini did a setting of this for two men; he usually included a translation of his motets in the appendices of his various anthologies. Let me check.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 348
    Are you hoping for a prose or verse translation? Same number of syllables per line?
  • Prose translation and it doesn't matter how many syllables per line (just a paragraph format would be fine). thanks
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 727
    I'm not sure what the source of your text is.

    Your first stanza comes from the last part of a larger poem in seven parts (here in Latin), each dedicated to a different part of the Savior's body in his suffering (feet, side, etc.). The last part "Ad faciem," for the face of Christ, starts with "O Caput cruentatum," but then the second stanza reads "Salve, cuius dulcis vultus . . ." (see this page with literal translation).

    As you can see, this corresponds to the familiar "O Sacred Head" text in the subsequent stanzas. It doesn't seem that your other stanzas come from the original poem or from any other source I can find.
  • FYI, on the CMAA site is a 1940s collection of chants ("Laudes Festivae").

    Yes, it's obvious that there is some relation to the Latin poem you mention, but the English translations of that poem I find are all poetized, so they can be set to music, and although they vary, they're not the actual translation of the poem. And these words I have posted are very likely not the actual translation of the poem either.

    I am not wanting a translation of the old Latin poem.
    Repeat: I am wanting to know the actual (prose) translation of the actual words which I posted above.
    thanks!
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 727
    Thanks for the clarification. I was just wondering about the source as there is often a translation already out there (as I'm not a Latin scholar).
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • joerg
    Posts: 72
    My English is nowhere up to the task, but the following lines may give you an idea:

    O head, bloody from the barbs of the thorns,
    spat on, punched, deprived of all grace.
    Let the densely woven wreath slab MY neck,
    so that, while it's being pushed on me, it nourishes a humble mind in me.

    O flesh, torn open from the nodes of the immane soldier's scourge,
    though it knows no malice deserving such injury.
    Let MY (flesh), when sin is wiped off, flee what is impure
    and, when sprinkled with blood, know, what is pure.

    O beautyful palms, hammered on the trunk with nails,
    beneficial givers of glorious love,
    nail ME to the cross, so that I may die for me
    and, living for the light, may give to the world the heavenly things.

    O feet, transfixed by immense rage,
    tired on the way while announcing peace.
    The bubbling fountain may refresh OUR feet for the work,
    being the heirs of such labours, may zeal urge us.

    O heart, transfixed by Longinus' lancehead,
    but also by the glowing of a strong flame,
    let MY heart penetrate completely into YOU,
    and let it draw breath from YOUR holy breath.

  • I have always maintained that a translation from verse to prose is not a true, substantial translation. While it may, or may not, give a more precise sense of the text in question it has altered totally the literary form, and, therefore, has destroyed an aspect of the original which was/is integral to it - meaning that which is of the essence of its integrity.

    This is particularly irksome with regard to hymnals and chant books which offer only prose translations of poetic hymns (only Catholics seem to do this) - usually quite precisely to assure that they are not sung in any tongue but the Latin.

    There is nothing more useless or absurd than a hymn text that cannot be sung!
    Or that has had its literary form demolished.
    If you don't understand and experience it in essence as poetry you don't understand or experience it for what it is. You don't 'get it'.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,300
    I agree, MJO. The Latin text is 7676 D iambic, with a consistent ABABCDCD rhyme scheme. A worthy translation will reproduce that structure even if some literalness needs to be sacrificed.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,025
    I totally agree with MJO and ron.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,730
    One of the most engaging books I've read recently is Hofstadter's Le ton beau de Marot: In praise of the music of language, a wide-ranging meditation on the relation of form to content which grew out of a challenge to translate Clément Marot's poem in rhymed 3-syllable couplets.
  • Jackson,

    Would you take either of these positions:

    1) In an attempt to render the Latin properly, a non-literary pulling apart may be necessary so as to identify and (in the best of all possible worlds) capture the nuances of meaning.

    2) It's possible to create beauty in English from a Latin original, but that new work (the translation) is a stand-alone work, not the original.


    I ask because, try as I may, I find the Latin of the Breviary's psalter mellifluous in a way that any translation can only imitate. "Labor labiorum", has a quality to it which "work of the lips" simply doesn't capture.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,730
    If I may kibbutz, Chris's propositions are unexceptionable given suitable definitions of terms, but 1) "non-literary" seems a poor fit for the exegeses by Randall Jarell, Matthew Arnold, John Dryden or Thomas Aquinas, and 2) if the NAB, Rheims-Douay, St. Jerome and Septuagint are all 'stand-alone' works, ought we be choosing sides in the Aramaic wars of religion?
  • Chris -

    Your points are well taken.
    However, I do not allow that they should alter my points of view regarding translations.
    Rather, they illustrate how that we should all read and understand Latin, literary Latin, thus not needing a translation at all.

    I stand by my above assertion: poetry translated into prose (or vice versa) is an irresponsible and inexcusable (not to mention lazy and insulting) mutilation of the original literary form and beauty, a savaging of the very nest in which the words are laid, and, thus, is not at all a true translation.
    The meaning of originals lies both in their words and in the literary form by which they are expressed.
    Just imagine, for example, how unspeakably stupid it would be to put Tartuffe into prose.
    Why, it wouldn't be Moliere's play at all.
    Nor would Prudentius's hymn, Corde natus ex parentis. be his hymn, not his own labor mentis.

    'The labours of our lips' may not have the grace that labor labiorum has, but such is the nature of translation, which from verse to prose is not at all made necessary.
  • Ooops. I didn't mean that the non-literary pulling apart was a finished stage, but an intermediate stage. I'm sorry for the confusion.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • in all this diversionary discussion, CGZ is the only one who seems to understand. I was never trying to get a prose translation TO USE, only TO UNDERSTAND how far from the original those lyrics I was looking at might have strayed, before I decide to sing them.

    To give just an example (of poetized translation and the potential sappiness thereof), "Blood of my Savior, bathe me in thy tide" is a far cry from the noble and mystical "Sanguis Christi, inebria me".
  • mmeladirectress, I understood exactly what you meant, and you're right on the money.

    Those who have taken the time to examine—I mean really examine—the 'poetic' translations (the ones you can sing) realize the great liberties taken with the meaning of the original hymn. This is true even for the very best translations, whether by Knox, Neale, Fitzpatrick, Aubrey de Vere, and so on.

    It is absolutely necessary to obtain a literal translation, not a 'singing' one (that is to say, not a metrical one). Only then can one really understand the genius of someone who translates hymns into rhyming English.
  • .
  • The text was abandoned.

    Your invalid friend, Bunburry

    Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.

    Then there's the whole scene in which Princess Katherine is practicing her English with her lady-in-waiting in Henry V.


    A French friend of mine ( a priest) says that Moliere is much easier to translate into English than Shakespeare is into French. I've never tried, but I imagine he's right.

    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,730
    I assume joerg also understood and fulfilled mmeladirectress' request (or is that version somehow unsatisfactory for the purpose?), following which we are at liberty to indulge in our regularly scheduled thread drift and the question of the worth of hymns that cannot be sung to a noble tune.

    One great surprise arising out of Hofstadter's challenge was that what at first seemed nearly impossible became with each new version easier and easier, so that he eventually even tried adding handicaps. I ought to offer a taste from Chapter 14, On the Untranslatable:
    My general sense is that for nearly every pun in language X, there are one or more very close puns in language Y … One evening in Paris, I was wandering in the Quartier latin and peered through the window of a bookstore, where I saw book called Le signe et le singe (literally "the sign and the monkey"), evidently a book about primates' ability to use language. Of course the visual and poetic similarity of signe and singe was the crux of the title's appeal, and I felt challenged: What to name this book in English?

    The first answer to pop into my mind was Monkeysigns- a cute play on "monkeyshines", but with a defect: the book was certainly not about mischievous pranks by monkeys or anyone else. So scrap that. My next thought was, "This book is probably about semiotics." No sooner was that formulated than "simian" flashed to mind, leading to the second candidate title: Simiotics. Next, I thought, "Or else it's about epistemology", upon which Apistemplogy politely stepped forward. Then out of the blue came Chimp A 'n Z's - pretty far-fetched, but pretty funny. And finally, making a bow to the et of the title, I imagined Ape and Epistemics and Of Symbols and Simians and even Of Monkeys and Mots. You can see there was quite a lot of nice material to exploit, right there on the surface. I don't take any credit for any of it _ all that stuff was just there.