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I am working on a translation of a song from English into Latin at a friend’s request. The song will be used in a Catholic Church context (prayer/worship). For that reason, I have tried to draw vocabulary from the Vulgate and traditional Catholic sources where possible (e.g. “liquefacere” from the prayer of St. Bonaventure in the Roman Missal for “explode”). I have tried to preserve the meter in the original and rhymed the first two lines of each verse.

English:
In disguise I come, I humble Myself
Can you see Me, I am here
Your deepest need,
Your deepest desire is for Love
Love is here
I am here
Take

Verse 2
Love for you consumes Me
My Heart explodes
Covering you with water, with blood
I claim you as Mine
Consume Me
Let My Love consume you
Eat

V.1 Absconditus veniam, me humilio
Vosne me videtis? ego maneo
Desiderium profundum
caritatis est
Hic est caritas
Adsum
Accipite

V.2 Consumptus, effusus, pro vobis ego sum
Liquefacit amore vestri cor meum
Aquam sanguinemque mei vobis effundo
Mei nominati
Consumite me
Ut vos consumat amor meus
Manducate

I would welcome any suggestions. In particular,

  1. Can anyone suggest a better phrase than “desiderium profundum caritatis est” in v.1 to convey the idea that “your deepest desire is for love”?

  2. “Mei nominati” in v.2 is intended as a vocative phrase addressing “you who are called ‘mine’”. Is this sufficiently clear?

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    Welcome to the site! – Adam May 23 at 15:30
  • Thank you, Adam! – mknight May 23 at 18:37
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    Welcome. Several points to consider (for now I prefer them in a comment). I'm not sure about the meter restrictions. (1) about pro vos. pro comes with the ablative, so maybe pro vobis. But you can consider using propter vos. (2) about Aquae sanguinisque mei vobis effundo not sure I understand the grammar here, can you comment about the usage of the genitive? (3) about maneo : consider adsum (as used afterwards), or pareo to keep the meter. (4) about Mei nominati, I wonder if just mei (as pl. or meus) might do for you. or mei nomine (Jos. 5:13 noster es an.. – d_e May 24 at 9:08
  • Thanks. Is there a way to view your entire comment? It’s cut off for me in the middle of the citation you gave from Jos. 5:13. I’ve corrected “pro vos” to “pro vobis” and “aquae sanguinisque” to “aquam sanguinemque” (for some reason I was under the impression that effundo would take the genitive, but the examples in L&S show otherwise). I rather like “maneo” for the resonance with Jn 1:39 (‘viderunt ubi maneret, et apud eum manserunt’). – mknight May 24 at 16:26
  • How about something like “vos vocati mei” instead of “mei nominati”? – mknight May 24 at 16:53
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I don't know how much you want changed, so I'll just tackle your two questions for now.

  1. What about: Super omnia amorem desideras, "You desire love above all." (cf. Aeneid 9.283)

  2. Is there a reason you're in the plural here? But anyway, the grammar breaks down heavily here. Why is it vocative? The lack of punctuation in the English is actually an impediment to translation. If there is supposed to be a period (or semicolon) after effundo, I would make the pronoun explicit, especially since there is ambiguity in the grammar.

One way of solving all the ambiguity is to make a relative clause with a dative of possession:

Qui mihi sunt
Me consumite

You who belong to me,
Devour me

You could even add an in nomine ("in name") after the mihi if you want to express the idea that it's just a label, a supposition, not necessarily fact (but not necessarily false, either).

One problem with consumere is that it also means "kill, lay waste to." Make sure you're ok with that definition too, otherwise you might want to try words like vorare (for which that destructive element is more closely tied to eating).

Other minor points: you don't need the ego in ego sum and ego maneo. Without punctuation consumite me ut me consumat amor meus means "Devour me so in order that my love devours you." Is that what you were intending?

This is all highly erotic, by the way.

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  • Thank you for that last line! – dbmag9 May 29 at 8:08
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    Thanks for your thoughtful answer, @cmw. The suggestion from the Aeneid was most helpful. Regarding your last aside—although I am only a translator (an amateur at that) and don't presume to know the author's mind—I would point out there is a long tradition of Christian and indeed Jewish spirituality that might be called 'erotic'. See the Song of Songs and the writings of the mystics (Teresa of Avila springs especially to mind). Pope Benedict also wrote a document on the topic. – mknight Jun 1 at 0:49
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Thanks to @d_e, @cmw and @brianpck for your corrections and suggestions. Regarding (1), we went with "super omnia amorem desideratis." Regarding (2), the author decided to take out the line in question, which saved a great deal of trouble. Your points about possible unwanted connotations of "maneo" and "consumo" were well made and appreciated, but we decided to keep both of them, in part due to their resonances with Jerome's Vulgate (see e.g. 'maneo' in Jn. 1:39 and 'consumo' in Lev 6:23) as well as elsewhere in Catholic tradition.

Below is the final version of the Latin lyrics.

Verse 1

Absconditus veniam, me humilio
Vosne me videtis? ego maneo
Super omnia amorem desideratis
Hic est caritas
Adsum
Accipite

Verse 2

Consumptus, effusus, pro vobis ego sum
Liquefit amore vestri cor meum
Aquam sanguinemque meum vobis effundo
Consumite me
Ut consumamini
Manducate

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    A few more comments: (1) liquefacio literally means to "melt," but it is transitive, i.e. I can use it to say that I melt gold but not that gold melts. In this case, you want to use the passive (liquefit, liquefactum est) or a different word (liquescit; cf. Ps. 21). (2) The genitive pronoun mei is almost never used for possession: you should probably rephrase to sanguinem meum or (better, in my opinion) drop the mei. – brianpck Jun 1 at 12:34
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    These are very helpful. Thanks, @brianpck. – mknight Jun 2 at 16:40

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