Sunday, 29 July 2012

Liturgical Latin: The Salve Regina and Participles

There are four great Marian antiphons with which we should all be familiar.  Traditionally, one of these is sung at the end of Compline (as well as other times, of course, ad libitum).

They are the the Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent - the Feast of the Purification), the Ave Regina Caelorum (Purification - Holy Week), the Regina Caeli (Easter - Pentecost), and the Salve Regina (Pentecost to the end of the [Church’s] year).

As ever, I recommend you learn these by heart, and the best way is to sing them.

We have already learned the Regina Caeli, during Eastertide, so today we shall look at the Salve Regina:

Here is a recording:

And here is the text, with an over-literal translation underneath: 

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
Hail, Queen, Mother of Mercy

vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
our life, sweetness and hope, hail.

ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
to Thee we are crying, exiled children of Eve,

ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
to Thee we are sighing, lamenting and weeping,

in hac lacrimarum valle.
in this valley of tears.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra,
Come then, therefore, our advocate, 

illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
those, thine eyes of mercy, towards us turn;

et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
and Jesus, blessed fruit of Thy womb,

nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
to us, after this exile, show.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
O clement, O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary.

℣ Ora pro nobis sancta Dei Genitrix.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God

℟ Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
That worthy we may be made of the promises of Christ.

Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, 
Let us pray. Almighty eternal God,

qui gloriosæ Virginis Matris Mariæ corpus et animam, 
who the glorious Virgin Mother Mary’s body and soul

ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur,
didst cause to be a worthy dwelling place, 

Spiritu Sancto cooperante præparasti: 
by preparing it with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit;

da, ut cuius commemoratione lætamur; 
grant, that we who rejoice in her commemoration,

eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur.
by her pious intercession, from present evils and from eternal death may be liberated.

Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
Through the same Christ our Lord.

I think that is fairly self-explanatory - a few new words for your growing vocabulary, but nothing, I think, that needs further explanation (if you are up to speed with what we have covered so far) , apart from gementes et flentes: lamenting and weeping.  These are Participles.  

Participles are verbal adjectives. They have some features of verbs and some of adjectives. But they are most basically a type of adjective.

As adjectives, participles can modify nouns or pronouns, and they can sometimes stand alone (as "substantives"), with the modified noun or pronoun implied.

As verbals, participles can take objects, and  can have tense (i.e., refer to past, present, or future) and voice (i.e., indicate that an agent is "actively" doing something or "passively" receiving some action).

Here, therefore, they are plural present participles, with the pronoun 'we' implied by the context, in particular the second person plural verb 'suspiramus;' that is 'we are sighing, [we are] lamenting and weeping.'

For more on the principle of participles, see here.  For more on the form of participles, see here.

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