Monday, November 17, 2008

A Latin Shabbat Zemer? (GUEST POST)

A friend of mine who likes to think of himself as the early medieval French monk Abelard translated a poem by the historical Abelard into English. Seeing as how I don't speak Latin, I don't know how accurate the translation is (except for the Judaized features).

The real Abelard wrote a tune for the poem, too.
You can hear it HERE.

O quanta qualia / sunt illa sabbata,
quę semper celebrat // superna curia;
que fessis requies // quę merces fortibus
cum erit omnia // deus in omnibus
Oh, how great are those Shabbatot,
Which the heavenly court eternally celebrates;
What rest for the weary, what commodity for the strong,
When God will be everything for everyone!

Vere ierusalem // illic est ciuitas,
cuius pax iugis est, // summa iocunditas,
ubi non preuenit // rem desiderium,
nec desiderio // minus est premium.
Truly, Yerushalayim is the city there,
Whose peace is perpetual, the highest delight;
Where desire will not hinder the goal,
Nor is the prize any less than the desire.

Quis rex, quę curia, // quale palatium,
quę pax, quę requies, // quod illum gaudium
huius participes // exponant glorię
si, quantum sentiunt, // possint exprimere
What a King! What a court! What a great palace!
What peace, what rest, what great joy!
Those who participate in such glory will express it,
If they are able to express as much as they feel.

Nostrum est interim // mentem erigere
et totis patriam // uotis appetere,
et ad iherusalem // a babilonia
post longa regredi // tandem exilia.
For us, in the meantime, we should straighten out our thoughts,
And seek our homeland with all prayers,
And to Yerushalayim, out of Bavel,
At last return, after a long exile.

Illic molestiis // finitis omnibus,
securi cantica // syon cantabimus,
et iuges gratias // de donis gratię
beata referet // plebs tibi, domine.
There, when all troubles have ceased,
We shall sing songs, safe in Tziyon,
And the blessed people shall give to Thee
Perpetual thanks for Thy gratuitous gifts, O God.

Illic ex sabbato // succedet sabbatum:
perpes letitia // sabbatizantium.
nec ineffabiles // cessabunt iubili,
quos decantabimus // et nos et angeli.
And then, that Shabbat // will be succeded by another:
Perpetual joy // for the Shabbat-observers.
Nor will inexpressable joyous-songs ever cease,
Which we shall sing forth -- both we and the angels.

Perhenni domino.
For God, forever.


Blogger Eli said...

How about a translation into Hebrew?

11/18/2008 9:27 AM  
Blogger Eli said...

Oh, and I find the line "deus in omnibus" amusing. Would also be a good name for a rock band.

11/18/2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger thanbo said...

is that really abelard's, or [the author's] own? what babylonian captivity would Abelard have written about? The Avignon papacy was 200 years later.


No, I do see it was Peter Abelard's. Still the imagery's relevance to a Catholic, rather than to a Jew, escapes me.

11/18/2008 9:50 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


i can ask for a Hebrew translation


that might be part of why he was declared heretical

11/18/2008 6:07 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Now let's see..... Which rather brilliant diqduqgeek do I know with mad Latin skillzz and a mediaeval bent to his mind?


I like the translation very much, by the way.

Abelard? Is there an Heloise any where in the proximate future?

11/20/2008 4:11 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

Est in re veritas / iam non in schemate


11/20/2008 7:29 PM  

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