O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

One of my favorite Christian songs is the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” and I was delighted some years ago to learn that it was originally in Latin.  Having learned Latin, I am still very fond of the familiar version we sing in church, but that translation (like all translations from verse into verse) necessarily adjusts the meaning to fix the meter.  So for Advent this year, I thought I would provide the hymn’s Latin words with a very literal translation into English prose, not to be sung, but so that the song may be better understood. The Latin text was taken, with minor adjustments of punctuation, from here.

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel Come, Come, Emmanuel!
Veni, veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.
Come, come, Emmanuel!
Release the captive, Israel,
Who groans in exile
Lacking God’s son.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!
Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.
Come, oh Wisdom,
Who here arranges all things!
Come, that you may teach
The way of prudence and of glory!
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!
Veni, veni, Adonai,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae.
Come, come, Adonai,
Who to the people at Sinai
Gave the Law from the summit
In the majesty of glory.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!
Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.
Come, O Rod of Jesse,
Lead your people from the enemy’s claw,
Your people from the sight of hell,
And from the cave of the abyss.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!
Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.
Come, Davidic Key,
Open the heavenly kingdom,
Make the upper path secure,
And close the roads of lower realms.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!
Veni, veni, O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras.
Come, come, oh Sunrise,
Comfort us by your coming!
Drive away night’s clouds
And death’s ominous shadows.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!
Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.
Come, come, King of the peoples!
Come, Redeemer of all,
That you may save your servants
Who are conscious of sin.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
nascetur pro te, Israel!
Be glad! Be glad! Emmanuel
Will be born for you, Israel!

My Latin is not strong, so if you see errors, feel free to suggest corrections!

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