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I'm looking for the latin translation of the Serenity Prayer:

God,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Here's what Wikipedia says:

Deus,
Dona mihi serenitatem accipere res quae non possum,
Fortitudinem mutare res quae possum,
Atque sapientiam differentiam cognoscere.

Is that correct?

A change I might make is to use "Domine" instead of "Deus", what do you think?

[Edit:] Sooo almost two years after posting this, it's finally been done on March 15!

A massive thank to TKR for the help on the translation!

Here are two pictures of during and just after :)

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Welcome to the site! Formatting hint: You can break a row by adding two spaces at the end of a line. Paragraph change (leaving an empty row) might not be what you want. I added a tag, but I'll leave the formatting for you to decide. – Joonas Ilmavirta Aug 6 '16 at 20:23
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Thanks a lot I didn't know that! :) – rAthus Aug 6 '16 at 21:05
  • Congrats. I've added your answer to the question. – Cerberus Jul 15 '18 at 20:29
  • I have an idea for rest in serenity, for my deceased son. I was looking up Latin and found this. Looks good Bud 😉 – Kathleen Smith Jan 21 at 5:33
  • @KathleenSmith I'm sorry to hear about your son; if you want any translation help, feel free to ask a question here. – Draconis Jan 22 at 14:55
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The Wiki translation is bad in several ways (the first line is missing the word "change"; the infinitives are not good Latin; the verbs in the relative clauses should be subjunctive; and the word choices are mostly unidiomatic translationese). Here's an attempt:

O deus / domine, dona mihi animi aequitatem, ut quae mutare non possim, clementer feram; ac fortitudinem, ut quae mutare possim, mutem; ac sapientiam, ut haec ab illis discernam.

I've replaced serenitas, which is mostly used as a description of weather, with a more idiomatic phrase animi aequitatem "serenity of mind". A little looser, but probably more natural Latin, would be aequum animum "a serene mind". For "accept" in the sense of "endure without struggling", the usual word is fero, often with some adverb such as clementer "gently". And for "know the difference" a more natural Latin expression is something like "tell the former from the latter", which is what haec ab illis discernam means.

To be freer yet, I think it sounds better with the order of the first two parts reversed, and the second of the two mutare "to change" elided:

O deus / domine, dona mihi fortitudinem, ut quae mutare possim, mutem; ac aequum animum, ut quae non possim, clementer feram; ac sapientiam, ut haec ab illis discernam.

  • Wow, thanks for the details response! I was pretty sure the Wiki translation would be bad, bu tbh I don't know anything about latin, and as I want to tattoo this prayer on my skin, it's important that the translation is correct! :D Concerning the order of sentences, I'd keep the original one, as it's in that particular order this prayer helped me change my life: first I learned to stop worrying about things I can't change, which allowed me to focus more on things I can! :) – rAthus Aug 6 '16 at 21:20
  • Precision: are the commas and their position important? – rAthus Aug 7 '16 at 0:44
  • @rAthus: Well, the Romans didn't use commas at all (or spaces, or lowercase letters...). In modernly punctuated texts the above would probably be the most likely punctuation, but you could get away with eliminating all the commas except the first and/or changing the semicolons to commas. – TKR Aug 7 '16 at 19:52
  • TKR I encourage you to have a look at the answer I just posted to myself if you want to see the result of your help :) – rAthus Jul 13 '18 at 13:32

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