I have been reading this book over the past week. The precision of Stump’s intellect and the depth and breadth of her project is remarkable. I’ll be writing a (long overdue) review for the Englewood Review of Books within the next couple of days.

In the dedication to the book, Stump quotes a line from the medieval Latin hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus. At the end of the acknowledgements sections she includes a new translation of the entire hymn (as well as the Latin original). I am grateful that she did. My Latin abilities are subpar, so I can’t speak authoritatively on the faithfulness of her translation. Nevertheless, I am convinced that her translation has captured the beauty, sorrow, and passion of this hymn more than other translations that I have read. I commend it to you here. The third stanza stopped me dead in my tracks.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte caelitus
Lucis tuae radium.
Veni, Pater pauperum,
Veni Dator menerum,
Veni, Lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
Dulcis hospes animae,
Dulce refrigerium,
In labore requies
In aestu temperies,
In fletu solacium,

O lux beatissima,
Reple cordis intima
Tuorum fidelium.
Sine tuo nomine
nihil est in homine,
Nihil est innoxium. 

Lava quod est sorfifum,
Riga quod est aridum,
Sana quod est saucium. 
Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum,
Rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
In te confidentibus,
Sacrum septenarium.
Da virtutis meritum,
Da salutis exitum,
Da perenne gaudium.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and send forth from heaven
the stream of your light.
Come, Father of the poor,
come, Giver of gifts,
come, Light of the heart.

Best of comforters,
sweet quest of the soul,
sweet healer,
rest in hardship,
cool in stifling heat,
solace in sorrow,

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost hearts
of those who trust in you.
Apart from you
we are nothing,
and everything is toxic.

Wash what is filthy;
water what is dry;
heal what is unhealthy;
soften what is unyielding;
enflame what is cold;
govern what is bent.

To those who trust in you,
who put their confidence in you,
give your sevenfold gifts.
Give the merit of virtue;
give salvation in the final hour;
give unending joy. 

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