On The Elventh Day...

I used to hate learning Latin as a grade-schooler. It ended up that we four older ones learned it in pairs; Gabrielle studied with Timothy, and Arianne learned the despised language with me. One of the
jobs of the partnership was to drill the vocabulary flashcards with each other. The stack of words got pretty big, really fast and Arianne and I both dreaded these sessions. It was probably our own lack of enthusiasm which made it such a dole-some task, but none the less, we despised it. We must have been about nine and eleven, respectively, when, one day, as we were getting towards the end - usually we would take turns, one would drill the other and then switch - and it was my turn to translate and I was cross with Arianne because she was hurrying me along and making it quite clear that drilling her little sister in a dead language  was not something she had slated out for her ideal day. We were drilling from English to Latin, which tends to be a little harder than from Latin to English, and I was getting sulkier by the minute. Then came the tempting little opportunity, and I took it. The English side said "Joy, Gladness."
 "Gaudium," I growled, which was correct, but I couldn't help muttering loud enough for the whole lower floor to hear, "I'm going to gouge out your eyes!"  This awful sentence was heard by Mommy in the next room, whose exclamation of surprised horror I can distinctly remember. Though I must warn you, she wasn't completely shocked; I was that kind of child.

   All I remember, from this occasion was that I got a scolding which I well deserved, and whenever Arianne and I reminisce about our Latin drilling days, Arianne will always bring up this instance; and we laugh.

  Gaudium - Joy or Gladness. I find it interesting that I tried to twist the word into something horrid and it swung around on me and ended up being a source of mirth between my sister and me in later years. As a wise woman as said multiple times, "God has an excellent sense of humor."

  Anyhow, my dear readers, now that I have come to love Latin, and learning languages in general, the word Gaudium recently came to haunt me in a completely different way. This time in it's imperative form, Gaudete, which literally means, Rejoice! 
  It was in the sixteenth century that this song, first appeared in the original copy of the "Piae Cantiones," a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs which was published in 1582. The song was not published with a tune, but the melody it is traditionally sung to comes from liturgical texts which are far older than that.

 As I was listening to this lovely old Latin chant, I was realizing again the benefits of knowing Latin. Time and time again, my knowledge of the language has come to my aid, but today as I heard the song, I could translate the entire chourus right there in my head, and pick out a lot of familiar words from the verses.
  "Rejoice in the Lord!"  The text is taken straight from Philippians 4. "Rejoice in the Lord Always; again I will say, 'Rejoice!'"

  I really like this song, therefore I thought I'd post a couple different versions of it below. Let me know if you find it really catchy; I definitely did. The music certainly fits the words!

I really like the way this one was arranged, but the singers below have far better enunciation, and a crisper sound.


Below are the words and the translation for all non-Latin speakers. However, I would encourage you to pick it up, if you haven't yet. Just don't threaten to torture your sister!

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!
Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born
(Out) Of the Virgin Mary – rejoice!

Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote reddamus.
The time of grace has come—
what we have wished for,
songs of joy
Let us give back faithfully.
Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante
God has become man,
(With) nature marvelling,
The world has been renewed
By Christ (who is) reigning.
Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur,
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezekiel
Is passed through,
Whence the light is raised,
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra concio
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our preaching
Now sing in brightness
Let it give praise to the Lord:
Greeting to our King.         


Rejoice! Christ is born! He is the perfect Lamb of God, sent to take away the sins of the world; and even now, He pleads for us before the throne of His Father. Is that not a thought worthy of rejoicing?

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Lisa Hellwig said...

Very nice! Thank you for sharing that lovely story. There is hope for all teachers of Latin after all!