Saturday, October 8, 2016


Matthias Grünewald,
The Resurrection of Christ,
Isenheim Altarpiece (1512/1516),
right wing (detail).
O night and darkness and clouds,
O confusion and disquiet
     of the world
the light is breaking through,
     the sky is brightening:
Christ is coming—begone!

Nox et tenebrae et nubila,
confusa mundi et turbida,
lux intrat, albescit polus:
Christus uenit, discedite!

     Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348-c. 410), "Hymnus matinus," Liber Cathemerinon (καθημερινω̑ν2, stanza 1, translation mine.  For an earlier critical edition of the Latin, see CSEL 61, ed. Bergman (1926), 9, but also CCSL 126, ed. Cunningham (1966), __.
     confusa and turbida can be either singular or plural, and therefore modify "O night and darkness and clouds" ("O night and darkness and clouds | of the world, confused and troubled").  On the other hand, turbida, at least, has functioned as a noun meaning roughly "disquiet," so maybe confusa is functioning that way here, too (in place of confusio)?  And the latter interpretation would make better sense of where the comma sits ("O confusion and disquiet of the world")?

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