Need translation of Regina Caeli Jubila
  • daniel
    Posts: 75
    Can someone please translate Regina Caeli Jubila (Praetorius)? Not an English singing version, but a translation so that I can tell the school choir the meaning of the words. Here they are:

    Regina caili jubila, jam pulsa cedunt nubila.
    Quam digna terris gignere vivs resurget funere
    Sunt fracta mortis spicula Jesu jacet mors subdita
    Ergo Maria plaudito clientibus succurrito.

    Thank you!

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,474
    Hi! The version you cite looks like it has a couple of typos; it might be good to check the text.

    I found some info on a website about Latin, so here's a version.


    Regina caeli, jubila,
    Queen of heaven, rejoice!

    jam pulsa cedunt nubila.
    Now the clouds, driven back, yield.

    Quem digna terris gignere
    He to whom you were worthy of giving birth upon Earth

    vivus resurgit funere.
    rises living from the tomb.

    Sunt fracta mortis spicula.
    The spines of death are broken.

    Jesu jacet mors subdita.
    The death of Jesus lies vanquished.


    (I'm not sure how to render the last line.)
    Ergo Maria plaudito clientibus succurrito.



    An English counterpart of this hymn (not a translation, really) is "Be Joyful, Mary".

  • JL
    Posts: 171
    The last line translates,

    Therefore, Mary, rejoice; give succour to your clients (devotees)

    (The -to suffix indicates the "future imperative"--a term I always found odd, since if you're being commanded to do something, you probably haven't done it yet. Usually it's used for emphasis, or as in this case, for scansion.)

    A better translation of "spicula" is "sting", even though it's plural. My Cassell's defines "spicum" as a thorn and the diminutive "spiculum" as the point on a spear or the stinger on an insect. (Made me think of that time I stepped on a bee...)

    In the penultimate like, "Jesu" is in the ablative case, not the genitive. A good translation of that line would be "Death lies vanquished by Jesus."

    Make sure you give extra credit to anyone in your school choir who notices that the melody is a re-rhythmicized version of "Es ist ein Ros'".
  • (The -to suffix indicates the "future imperative"--a term I always found odd, since if you're being commanded to do something, you probably haven't done it yet. Usually it's used for emphasis, or as in this case, for scansion.)


    For what it's worth, Allen & Greenough says:

    The Future Imperative is used in commands, etc., where there is a distinct reference to future time:--

    1. In connection with some adverb or other expression that indicates at what time in the future the action of the imperative shall take place. So especially with a future, a future perfect indicative, or (in poetry and early Latin) with a present imperative: . . .

    2. In general directions, serving for all time, as Precepts, Statutes, and Wills: . . .


    Gildersleeve's Latin grammar terms the present and future imperatives the First Imperative and Second Imperative, respectively, and remarks:

    . . . Some verbs have only the second form: so scito, know thou; memento, remember thou; habeto, in the sense of know, remember.

    1. The First Imperative looks forward to immediate fulfilment (Absolute Imperative): . . .

    2. The Second Imperative looks forward to contingent fulfilment (Relative Imperative), and is chiefly used in laws, legal documents, maxims, recipes, and the like; likewise in familiar language.
    Thanked by 1JL
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,474
    Thanks, JL!
  • This hymn is in the Campion Hymnal. I remember there were a lot of different versions for this one.
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    Ooh, good to know. Thanks, Mark; that wasn't clear in any of my textbooks or references. Time to get a Gildersleeve.
  • Ooh, good to know. Thanks, Mark; that wasn't clear in any of my textbooks or references. Time to get a Gildersleeve.


    Here you go! (There are other editions available in various places too.)
    Thanked by 1JL
  • The second verse seems to always be mistyped; the Latin should be
    Quem dignateris gignere -- i.e., "the one whom you did deserve/merit to bear"; which is why the common singable translation is "whom thou didst bear by heaven's grace" - close, if not perfect.
    And yes, the "Jesu iacet mors súbdita" is definitely "death lies vanquished by Jesus", given the ablative form.
  • Iesus is declined irregularly, so it could be genitive. The nom is Iesus, the acc is Iesum, and all other case forms, including vocative, are Iesu. "By Jesus" would require a preposition: a/ab Iesu.