Sunday, 17 June 2012

Latin Lesson: The Angelus

For your revision, recite the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria and the whole of St John's Gospel in the Vulgate (to help you get started: In principium erat Verbum - take it from there...)

Good: well done on the first two; perhaps some work to do on the third. (If I were Dom's piano teacher, I'd persecute you for not having learned the third, regardless both of the nigh-on impossibility of doing so, and the fact I'd never asked you to - but that's another story...)

So let's look at the Angelus.  I imagine there is some correlation between those who pray the Angelus regularly (whether via #twitterangelus or not) and the wise people who await this Latin Course avidly...

So with luck this will be familiar to you.  Whether it is or not, I do recommend rote learning (mainly because it is so unfashionable, of course, but there are other, serious, benefits.)

So here is a recording of it sung in Latin:

The Angelus

(I have omitted the Aves as you know them already, and I have at times used an over-literal word order and translation, to make the relationship of Latin to English words clearer)

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit
Ecce ancilla Domini 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. 
May it be done unto me according to thy word.
Et Verbum caro factum est 
And the Word, flesh was made
Et habitavit in nobis 
And dwelt amongst us.
Ora pro nobis Sancta Dei Genetrix 
Pray for us, Holy Mother of God
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. 
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Oremus: Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; 

Let us pray: Thy grace, we beseech thee O Lord, into our minds pour forth; 
ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, 
that (we) who by the message of an Angel,
Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, 
 the incarnation of Christ Thy Son came to know; 
per passionem eius et crucem ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.  
by His passion and cross, to the glory of his resurrection may be led.

Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. 
Through the same Christ our Lord.
Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum
The Divine Assistance may it remain always with us
Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen. 
The souls of the faithful, by the mercy of God, may they rest in peace.  Amen.


If you have been paying attention as we have progressed, you should be looking at texts like these and spotting, for example, that Domini and Dei are in the genitive case (of the Lord, of God); moreover, you will have been able to deduce that nuntiavit and concepit are third person singular, past (perfect) tense (declared, conceived);  and so on.

You may also have spotted some subjunctives: Fiat, Oremus, maneat, and  requiescant (may it be done, let us pray, may it remain, may they rest).

So you should be at the stage where, with the simultaneous translation, you can see why most of the Latin words are the shape they are.

There are a few exceptions: efficiamur is something we have not seen.  It is a verb, of course (efficio, - I bring to pass, accomplish etc).  Here we have the first person plural (we) subjunctive passive (may be made).  Thus 'ut digni efficiamur' is 'that we may be made worthy.'

In passing, the Latin word 'ut' meaning 'in order that'  is normally (always?) followed by the subjunctive; which is logical, when you think about it: in order that something may be the case or may be made to happen etc: classic subjunctive stuff.

That's all I have time for today, I'm afraid, so more of a revision class with a new text, than a lot to learn.  However, I do propose to continue the classes, and maybe next week we'll add some more grammar.

If you feel short-changed, have a look at this week's new vocabulary, and spot parallels with English words, to help you remember the Latin (eg habitavit and inhabit, habitat; Auxilium and auxilliary; animae and animate and so on ...)


Part-time Pilgrim said...

Interesting - you translate "mentibus" as "minds" whereas the traditional translation has "hearts". I sure you are right but what accounts for the difference?

Ben Trovato said...

P-t P

You are right that it is different and that it was deliberately so. I consulted Lewis and Short (qv as you'd expect. It gives ' the mind, disposition; the heart, soul.'

Mens mentis is where we get words like mental, so it seemed helpful to highlight that link.

I wonder if the traditional translation suggests that the perceived dichotomy between heart and mind is a relatively modern phenomenon, and that 'mind' here refers to the essential self - in which case 'heart' is a good translation. Again, see the Lewis and Short entry for the rationale behind that thinking.

Likewise Cor, cordium (which anatomically always refers to the heart) because that was seen as the seat of wisdom, is translated (inter alia) as 'heart, mind, judgment' (always Lewis and Short).

However I recall reading some learned priest (I think Fr Bryan Houghton in Mitre and Crook, though I don't have time to re-read the whole thing to check) commenting on how frequently God is referred to as scrutator cordium (examiner of our hearts) in Sacred Scripture compared with scrutator mentium (of our minds), which occurs very infrequently. So perhaps I am barking up the wrong tree here.

Ben Trovato said...

P-t P

PS _ thanks for the question - meant to say that before but got so involved in answering it... But I like questions - both because they confirm that someone out there is reading and thinking about this stuff, and also because they force me to think, which means there is a chance of my learning something.

Ben Trovato said...


Of course in O Sacrum Convivium, which I posted recently we had mens implena gratia 'fill our minds with your grace.'

Which is also interesting again: why do gratia and mens go together? Do they elsewhere? Do we find cor and gratia similarly linked?

I'll do some thinking - and will be interested in anything anyone else comes up with on this.