Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sator princepsque temporum

From deep down in the file cabinet, another breviary hymn translation. This hymn is prescribed for Vespers on Tuesday, Weeks Two and Four of the Psalter. You will note that I came up with two different ways to translate "mens," the meaning of which goes beyond the usual English sense of the word "mind" to include the inner, spiritual part of man, the seat not only of the intellect but of the will, virtues, spiritual relationships, etc.

Sator princepsque temporum,
clarum diem laboribus
noctemque qui soporibus
fixo distinguis ordine.

Mentem tu castam dirige,
obscura ne silentia
ad dira cordis vulnera
telis patescant invidi.

Vacent ardore pectora,
faces nec ullas perferant,
quae nostro haerentes sensui
mentis vigorem saucient.

Praesta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
cum Spiritu Paraclito
regnans per omne saeculum.
Creator, Lord of time and tide
The hours in order you divide:
For work, you give us daytime bright;
For rest, the quiet sleep of night.

The inner self keep pure from sin,
Lest silent darkness deep within
Expose the heart to wound and woe
From deadly arrows of the foe.

Let passion’s fire from us depart,
Lest, burning hotly in the heart,
Its flames around our feelings bind,
And wound the vigor of the mind.

O grant it, Father, only Son,
And Holy Spirit with them one:
The God whom all things must obey,
Reigning in everlasting day.

translation copyright 2005, Fr. Thomas Buffer

1 comment:

Frank Kulash said...

Very beautiful verse!
I would like permission to include "Creator, Lord of time and tide" in a booklet to be used for vespers at St Paul church in Cambridge, MA. Please contact me at fkulash@post.harvard.edu.
Thank you.