Silens Nox

To judge by the number of Latin translations I have found online, "Silent Night" must be the most popular English Christmas carol! The English song is a translation of the 19th-century German carol "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht." You can find the German lyrics at the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website, along with the lyrics to the English carol, with MIDI files and sheet music. There is also a Wikipedia article about this carol.

There is a wonderful legend that says the German original was composed when it was discovered that the church organ had been eaten through by mice and could not play the Christmas service, prompting the composition of this carol about the "silent" night. Although the legend is not true, you can read a detailed factual account of the carol at the Hymns and Carols site.

Here are the Latin translations that I have found on the Internet. Each one of them has some very nice touches!

Version 1: Silens nox, sancta nox. Translated by Stanford Miller.

Silens nox, sancta nox,
placida, lucida,
virginem et puerum
dulcem atque tenerum,
somno opprime,
somno opprime.

Silens nox, sancta nox!
Angeli nitidi
"Alleluia" concinunt.
Nunc pastores metuunt.
Christus natus est,
Christus natus est.

Silens nox, sancta nox,
candida, splendida!
Fili Dei facies
nobis praebet novas spes.
Christus natus est,
Christus natus est!


Version 2: Nox silens, sancta nox. Translated by Harry Maynard.

Nox silens, sancta nox!
En, tranquilla omnia!
Cubat virgo cum nato mater.
Infans sancte, mollis, tener,
dormi tu placide,
dormi tu placide!

Nox silens, sancta nox!
Circumfulget gloria!
Primi pastores sentiunt.
Angeli 'Alleluia' canunt:
"Christus salvator adest,
Christus salvator adest!"

Nox silens, sancta nox!
Nati Deo e vultu
clare verus amor lucet.
Spes salutis nobis adfulget,
Natu, Jesu, tuo,
natu, Jesu, tuo!


Version 3: Silens nox, sacra nox. Translated by Josiah B. Game.

Silens nox, sacra nox!
Omn(e) est lux, omn(e) est pax
circum matrem et puerum.
Infans sacer, O beate,
dorm(i) in pace quieta,
dorm(i) in pace quieta.

Silens nox, sacra nox!
Pastores nunc adorant.
Glori(ae) ex stellis veniunt.
Angeli "Halleluiah" cantant:
"Christus salvator adest,
Christus salvator adest!"

Silens nox, sacra nox!
Fili Dei, lux pura coeli
clare radiat ex facie tua,
prima luce gratiae sacrae,
Domine, Iesu natu,
Domine, Iesu natu!


Version 4: Tranquilla nox, sancta nox. Translated by Robert J.M. Lindsay

Tranquilla nox, sancta nox!
Dormit mundus; nulla vox
iam auditur: in stabulo
Maria et Ioseph cum puero
qui dormit placide,
qui dormit placide.

Tranqilla nox, sancta nox!
Ad pastores iam venit velox
illud verbum ex angelis:
"Alleluia, nunc adis,
Christe, redemptor tu,
Christe, redemptor tu!"

Tranquilla nox, sancta nox!
Fili Dei, quanta mox
caritas lucet ex ore tuo.
Gratiae tempus adest mundo,
cum natus sis, Domine,
cum natus sis, Domine!


Version 5. Santa nox, placida nox. Translated by Otto Schmied.

Sancta nox, placida nox!
Nusquam est ulla vox.
Par sanctissimum vigilat.
Crispo crine quieti se dat
puer dulcissimus,
puer dulcissimus!

Sancta nox, placida nox!
Certior fit pastor mox
angelorum alleluia.
Sonat voce clarissima:
"Iesus salvator adest,
Iesus salvator adest!"

Sancta nox, placida nox!
Nate Dei, suavis vox
manat is nobis auxilio,
Christe, natalibus,
Christe, natalibus!


Version 6. From a collection of Polish carols translated into Latin by Ryszard Ganszyniec (1888-1958); the Polish version is Cicha noc.

Alma nox, tacita nox
Omnium silet vox.
Sola virgo nunc beatum
Ulnis fovet dulcem natum.
Pax tibi, Puer pax! (bis)

Alma nox, tacita nox,
O Jesu, tua vox
Amorem nobis explanat,
Nos redemptos esse clamat,
In tuo natali. (bis)

Alma nox, tacita nox!
Angeli sonat vox:
Alleluia! O surgite,
Pastores huc accurrite!
Christus Deus adest. (bis)


Version 7. Unattributed, online at this Kealing.org website.

Tacita
Nox, placida!
Vigilat
Unica
Mater Iesuli geniti.
"Christe, dulcis infantule mi,
Dormi placide tu,
Dormi placide tu!"
Tacita
Nox, placida!
Benevolentia,
Amor, ridet ex osculo,
Infans, tuo sanctissimo,
Ex quo genitus es,
Ex quo genitus es.
Tacita
Nox, placida!
Sonat "Halleluia"
Angelorum, adventum qui
Boni nuntiant Christuli,
Te qui servet et me,
Te qui servet et me!



2 comments:

Unknown said...

Laura, as you so many times help us with your knowledge and services, this time I'm glad to make a small contribution.
Here you can find one of the versions sung:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4yXvscX4ig

Laura Gibbs said...

Oh, that is WONDERFUL - thank you!!! I will add it to the post right now!