18 May 2015

Deum precemur supplices

Here is my translation of the hymn “Deum precemur supplices” (H. Weller, bef. 1561) for feasts of Holy Angels; which amounts, in general Lutheranism, to the feast of St. Michael & All Angels. Note the first line borrowed directly from the second line of “Jam lucis orto sidere.” The melody is that appointed for that hymn, though commonly used otherwise as well. However, if sung in the context of the Office, in comparison with the other hymns for feasts of angels, the prayerful aspect and content recommends the use of this hymn, I think, for Compline on the feast.

TO GOD now let us humbly pray
That He would stir our heart this day
With gratitude that grace to own
Which from His hand we have been shown.

2 He sent the Word of Christ His Son,
Into the world by sin undone,
In darkness wav’ring and astray,
Wherein we wretched sinners lay.

3 Nor did that bounty so renowned
Remain within its measured bound,
But issued forth with brilliant light
And put foul heresies to flight.

4 And that believers e’er might be
Kept safe from harm, from peril free,
God by His trusty angel band
Defends the saints on ev’ry hand.

5 These spirits pure God made, that they
Might ever be our help and stay,
Companions of God’s true elect,
Our ev’ry footstep to direct.

6 Wherefore let us with mind o’erawed,
Behold the boundless grace of God
And live as children good and dear
Of this our Father without peer.

7 With all our pow’rs let us contend
To worship Him with mind unstained
Lest we our due reward receive

With spirits damned, in hell to grieve.

8 We ask that Jesus would be nigh,
Who is our Advocate most high,
And by His favor bring us hence
To heaven’s full inheritance.

Translation © 2015 Matthew Carver.


1 Deum precemur supplices
Ut corda nostra excitet
Ad agnoscendam gratiam
Nobis ab ipso praebitam.

2 Quod Verbum sui Filii
Mundo remisit perdito
Et fluctuanti tenebris
Quis jactabamur miseri.

3 Nec intra modum bonitas
Ista tam ingens constitit
Sed luce clara micuit
Foedosque errores dispulit.

4 Et ut credentes firmiter
Tuti vivant periculis
Angelico praesidio
Munit pios tutissimo.

5 Hos puros finxit spiritus
Deus, ut essent comites
Suis semper fidelibus
Quorum gressus dirigerent.

6 Quapropter ejus maximam
In nos miremur gratiam
Bonique simus filii
Patris nostri tam optimi.

7 Quem mente pura colere
Nitamur summis viribus
Ne consequamur praemia
Cum perditis spiritibus.

8 Jesum patronum optimum,
Nobis adesse petimus
Quo nos pro suo gratia
Perducat ad caelestia. Amen.

1 comment:

Walter said...

Once again you captured in real poetic style a good English rendering of that Latin original. Those verses 5,6 & 7 bring out a personal moral lesson on the creation of God's Angels and you've translated what is difficult in these verses into a smooth interpretation, Matt ! Thank you for your Biblical orthodoxy too on the reality of our Guardian Angels.