'Uxor tua' Gradual, rendering into English
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 990
    When I am singing a TLM wedding, or a New Rite wedding with the Proper from the Graduale Romanum, I am not singing in Hebrew. Nor am I singing the Lectionary text of Psalm 127/8.

    In consequence, whatever arguments there may be on those grounds for describing the wife as a "fruitful vine in the recesses of one's home" seem irrelevant. The text being proclaimed is the Vulgate text, and the Vulgate presents the image of the wife as a fructiferous vine covering the walls of a house, not hidden in its depths. (The Proverbial wife, made famous by nearly every New Rite funeral of a woman, doesn't seem to have cared much about the 'recesses' of the home, either).

    Taking that image, and the beautiful image of children not "at" but "in the circuit of" the table (let him who hath children understand)*, I have made a (necessarily short) direct translation of the wedding Gradual, poetic but not obnoxiously so (there is Hopkins-esque alliteration, phrasal tmesis, some deliberate chiasmic arrangment, all hopefully subtle) with which, I think, I am happy.

    Are you?

    Thy wife shall be like an abundant vine
    adorning the walls of thy home:
    ℣. Thy children like shoots of the olive
    running thy table round.

    Gone is the woman hidden away in childbearing and the mannerly children squaring their meals. Here is a picture of the rich wonder of a beautiful family, teeming with life that brings to life and color and fullness the house fortunate to contain it. "Running" for "circuitu" of course does not, as the Latin, necessarily imply "in motion." Things "run the full length of the building" without moving all the time. But it is a word, unlike "around", that contains a principle of motion with in it. A word alive and energized and energizing, like a child. So I like it better. (The LXX has εν κυκλω, which sounds even more spinning to me - the Hebrew seems tamer).


    *[circuitus is a word quite lively with motion. See its dictionary entry: "going round; patrol/circuit; way/path round; circumference; outer surface/edge; revolution, spinning, rotation; (recurring) cycle;" -- as a father of four, 10 and under, I was particularly attracted to "spinning, rotation," frankly.]
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 564
    I'm not a latinist, but I quite like it. This is one of those propers that my wife always has questions about, incidentally, and I feel like this translation more accurately conveys the original meaning of the psalm.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,372
    Your translation has a certain colourful rambunctiousness about it. I like its life-like air of abandonment. There is here nothing as tame or civilised as the following -

    Francis Burgess in The English Gradual has -

    Thy wife shall be as the fruitful vine
    upon the walls of thine house;
    Thy children like the olive branches
    'round about thy table.

    This may be too tame for what you had in mind.

  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 990
    Burgess’ is wonderful. No ‘recesses’, and ‘round about’ is a perhaps more civilized accounting for the Latin circuitu or LXX εν κυκλω.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,372
    One should have known!
    Burgess's source was your Coverdale psalter, Psalm CXXVIII.iii