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I wish to know the correct translation of this more empowered and secular version of the Serenity Prayer:

Let me have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Da mihi serenitatem accipere quae non possum mutare, animos mutare res quae possum, atque sapientiam differentiam cognoscere.

Is this right? Thank you in advance!

PS: It's for a tattoo, hence the extra need for scrutiny

Edit: I'm aware that there's a similar thread, but for me it's important that it's not "God grant me" but "Let me have", as I wish to have this power from within and not relying on external factors.

Edit2: Removed the "res" before "quae"

Edit3: I've had it translated by a professional translator and she came up with:

Habeam aequum animum ut quae mutare non possim feram
ac fortitudinem ut quae mutare possim mutem
ac sapientiam ut haec ab illis discernam

Any thoughts?

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    Possible duplicate: latin.stackexchange.com/questions/1332/… Jun 28 at 19:29
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    As @SebastianKoppehel noted, there is already a question on this. The extra caution on tattoos isn't unwarranted, though, so if you like, if you have further questions that the other thread doesn't answer or desire a more specific answer to your translation, feel free to edit your question to reflect that.
    – cmw
    Jun 28 at 20:22
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    For what it's worth, the translation you provided is a fairly straightforward translation and is mostly grammatically correct, with just a few quibbles (no res!).
    – cmw
    Jun 28 at 20:23
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    @cmw I definitely wouldn't want those infinitives on my skin. By the way, the source of this translation appears to be the back cover of Neil Young's 1981 album "Re-ac-tor." (With fortitudinem instead of animos, which is another one of those quibbles …) Jun 28 at 21:09
  • @SebastianKoppehel That actually makes it easier for inking - if anyone doubts the translation, just blame Neil Young! And you're right that the infinitives are an Anglicism, whereas Latin would likely have a purpose clause.
    – cmw
    Jun 28 at 21:26
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My suggestion is this, since all three of the qualities that the prayer refers to can by expressed through adjectives that modify animus in Latin:

animo sim satis aequo ut ea patiar quae mutare nequeam, satis forti ut ea mutem quae mutare queam, satis sapienti ut haec ab illis discernam.

May I be of a mind that is sufficiently level that I accept those things that I'm unable to change, sufficiently brave that I change those things that I'm able to change, sufficiently sensible that I distinguish the latter from the former.

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Da mihi serenitatem accipere sounds to me like "Grant me to accept serenity", which is not what you want to say.

In this case, I'd go with the subjunctive, something like Da mihi serenitatem ut accipiam quae non possum mutare, animum ut mutem quae possum, atque sapientiam ut cognoscam quid distet.

EDIT: I originally used utrum intersit instead of quid distet but wasn't sure it was quite right. After doing a corpus search on PHI, I feel quite confident that quid distet will work, but I don't have the same level of confidence in utrum intersit, or utrum referat.

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    Since the asker specifically wants to not have an external force granting the various aspects, seems strange.
    – Draconis
    Jul 5 at 3:01
  • @Draconis I don't know about strange, but perhaps unnecessary. I'm in the middle of concocting a translation which drops the imperative, which I'll post shortly as a separate answer.
    – Figulus
    Jul 5 at 3:05
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There are many ways to translate this. If you go the route of using a subjunctive, you can drop the imperative da entirely. Also you can use gerundives instead of infinitives of purpose.

Habeam serenitatem ad accipienda quae mutare non possum, animum ad mutanda quae possum, et sapientiam ad cognoscendum quid distet.

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enter image description here

This is what I ended up going with, a more poetic version:

"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."

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    I hate to tell you this, but it looks like the artist put mature instead of mutare in the fourth line.
    – brianpck
    Aug 31 at 13:16
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    On the plus side, at least mature is an actual Latin word, so some sense can still be made of what's there: 'and the courage to change what I'm able [to change] in plenty of time.'
    – cnread
    Aug 31 at 20:28
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There are many possible ways to translate a thing like this like the other answers indicate. Let me just discuss the translation you offer in your latest update:

Habeam aequum animum ut quae mutare non possim feram
ac fortitudinem ut quae mutare possim mutem
ac sapientiam ut haec ab illis discernam

The use of habeam works great: it is a wish to have the power, not for anyone to give it to you, and the present tense implies possibility whereas the imperfect haberem would be an unachievable wish.

The flow of the text is natural and the structure clear. I consider this to be in good style, and given the context you describe, I would prefer this to the offerings of the other answers.

The only thing that struck me as somewhat weird is using ferre for "accept". This verb has a wildly broad range of possible meanings, and "to suffer, tolerate, endure" is indeed among them. See part II.B.5 of the entry in Lewis and Short. The many other meanings, like "carry, show, report, celebrate, conduct, flow, take away, produce, receive", may lead the reader astray. If this is an ambiguity you want to avoid, then a more narrow Latin verb would be in order. The best alternative that comes to mind is tolerare, so my only suggestion is to consider changing feram to tolerem. The verb ferre strikes me as stylistically more suitable, but it is more open to misinterpretation — the choice is yours.

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    Agree that this is an excellent translation. I'd actually vote for feram over alternatives like tolerem, since fero is the most basic/common Latin verb for this meaning; ambiguity doesn't seem like a big problem here given that the meaning is clear from context and that this is a well-known quote (not to mention that such lexical ambiguity is very common in real Latin texts).
    – TKR
    Jul 24 at 19:23
  • @TKR I agree that feram is the most stylish choice and what a Roman author would have been likely to choose. I just wanted to point the potential ambiguity out explicitly so that the OP can judge whether it is fine. The context reduces the room for misinterpretation quite a bit here. It's very true that tolerance for ambiguity is often needed with Latin.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 24 at 20:05

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