Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

Veni, veni (4)

This week, verse 4 (1, 2, 3). Once again, text followed by literal translation and the familiar hymn version. (Text and poetic translation here.)

The word order is quite nice in this week’s verse: in two consecutive lines, the word for God’s people (tuos) is placed in the midst of their enemies whence God came to rescue them (ex hostis tuos ungula–where they are hooked, as it were, on the claw–and de specu tuos tartari–where they are in the midst of the pit of hell).

Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de specu1 tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.
Gaude, gaude; Emmanuel nascetur pro te Israel.

Come, o shoot of Jesse,
lead your people out from the claw of the enemy,
[lead out] your people from the pit of hell
and from the cave of the abyss.
Rejoice, rejoice; Emmanuel shall be born for you, Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
from ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel,
to thee shall come Emmanuel!

  1. The text to which I linked has spectu (“appearance”), but it must be specu (“cave” or “pit”), as here.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.

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