14 February 2015

O Lux beata Trinitas (tres unum trium unio)

Here is my translation of the traditional office hymn at Lauds and the Hours on the feast of Holy Trinity in German (and some French) territories, "O Lux beata Trinitas (Tres unum trium unio),"—not to be confused with the shorter hymn for Saturdays in Trinitytide, "O Lux beata Trinitas," which Luther himself translated into German. I take the Latin text and melodic form from Lossius.

Image © 2015 Matthew Carver.

O BLESSED Light and Trinity,
Thou Three in One and Union trine,
Blest company of Persons Three,
All pow’r in earth and heav’n is Thine.

2. O Father unbegotten ay,
Who mak’st the world to teem and flow’r,
And o’er creation holdest sway
Through Christ, the Word of godly pow’r.

3. O Word before the world was made,
The Father’s glory Thou dost trace,
Creator by whom earth was laid,
Thou Light of hearts, Thou Fount of grace.

4. O Holy Spirit, Charity,
Thou breath and very bond of peace,
The sweetest savor flows from Thee,
True Peace and Promise, Fruit, and Kiss.

5. The Father doth His Image bear
Of equal glory, from His heart;
And from Them both, proceeding e’er,
The Holy Spirit doth depart.

6. One God and Three we worship Thee,
One Essence of Three Persons true,
One rev’rence of esteem to Three
With like acclaim we give as due.

7. To th’ unbegotten Father, God,
With Christ, the sole begotten Son,
And Holy Ghost, be praise and laud,
Eternal, triune God alone.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.

1. O lux beata trinitas,
Tres unum, trium unio,
Imperialis unitas
In trium contubernio.

2. O pater innascibilis,
Natura semper pullulans,
Pondus rei vertibilis
Verbo virtutis baiulans.

3. O verbum in principio,
Paternae splendor gloriae,
Tu conditor et ratio,
Lux cordium, fons veniae.

4. O amor, sancte spiritus,
Concordiae spiraculum,
Summi dulcoris halitus,
Pax, foedus, fructus, osculum.

5. Pater gignit imaginem
Aequalem sibi penitus,
Solamque per originem
Ab ipsis differt spiritus.

6. Tres unum Deum credimus,
Unam trium essentiam,
Tribus unam impendimus
Honoris reverentiam.

7. Laus Patri sit ingenito,
Laus eius unigenito,
Laus sit sancto spiritui,
Trino Deo et simplici.


middling said...

It’s odd how the Latin changes rhyme schemes in the last stanza, from abab to aabb. I wonder if the last English verse would be more powerful if it did as well? As it is, I feel that the “laud” at the end of line 3 actually sets me up mentally for an end-rhyme with “God” anyway. It may just be me, but I find that I trip over “alone,” which is isn’t a true rhyme with either “laud” or “Son.” (Not that slant rhymes are a big deal. But still... Your translation style is so smooth and liquid, I thought I’d put the bug in your ear.)

Thanks for another lovely rendering of a Latin hymn. I’m simply amazed by the quality of the stuff you post here.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

You're right, the meter is interlocking until the doxology, where it is couplets. Often doxologies are of different origin and are used for every hymn in a season or on a certain occasion. In this case I was inclined to maintain the same rhyme scheme rather than borrow a doxology already translated, but I suppose another doxology could be substituted, as was often the case in the past. Thank you for the kind word as well.