Liber Primus - pars 1
Sancti Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi, Confessionum Libri Tredecim
Saint Aurelius Augustine of Hippo, Confessions of a Book
Magnus es, Domine, et laudabilis valde: magna virtus tua, et sapientiæ tuæ non est numerus.
You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your strength and your wisdom.
Et laudare te vult homo, aliqua portio creaturæ tuæ; et homo circumferens mortalitatem suam, circumferens testimonium peccati sui, et testimonium quia superbis resistis: et tamen laudare te vult homo, aliqua portio creaturæ tuæ.
And a man wants to praise you, some portion of your creation; and man carries around his mortality, carries around the testimony of his sin, and bears witness that you resist the proud; and yet man wants to praise you, a portion of your creation.
Tu excitas, ut laudare te delectet; quia fecisti nos ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in te.
You excite him to take pleasure in praising you; because you have brought us to you, and our heart is restless until he rests in you.
Da mihi, Domine, scire et intelligere utrum sit prius invocare te, an laudare te; et scire te prius sit, an invocare te.
Grant me, O Lord, to know and to understand whether it is first to invoke thee, or to praise thee; and to know thee first, or to invoke thee.
Sed quis te invocat, nesciens te?
But who calls you without knowing you?
Aliud enim pro alio potest invocare nesciens te.
For he can invoke one thing for another without knowing you.
An potius invocaris, ut sciaris?
Or are you rather called upon to know?
Quomodo autem invocabunt in quem non crediderunt?
But how shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed?
Aut quomodo credent sine prædicante?
Or how can they believe without preaching?
Et laudabunt Dominum qui requirunt eum.
And those who seek him will praise the Lord.
Quærentes enim invenient eum, et invenientes laudabunt eum.
For those who seek him will find him, and those who find him will praise him.
Quæram te, Domine, invocans te; et invocem te, credens in te: prædicatus enim es nobis.
I sought thee, Lord, invoking thee; and I will call upon thee, believing in thee: for thou hast been preached unto us.
Invocat te, Domine, fides mea quam dedisti mihi, quam inspirasti mihi per humanitatem Filii tui, per ministerium prædicatoris tui.
My faith calls to you, Lord, which you have given me, which you have inspired in me through the humanity of your Son, through the ministry of your preacher.
Et quomodo invocabo Deum meum, Deum et Dominum meum?
And how shall I call upon my God, my God and my Lord?
Quoniam utique in me ipsum eum vocabo, cum invocabo eum.
For I will certainly call him into myself when I call upon him.
Et quis locus est in me quo veniat in me Deus meus?
And what place is there in me for my God to come into me?
Quo Deus veniat in me, Deus qui fecit coelum et terram?
Where can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth?
Itane, Domine Deus meus, est quidquam in me quod capiat te?
So, Lord my God, is there anything in me that would take you?
An vero coelum et terra quæ fecisti, et in quibus me fecisti, capiunt te?
Or do the heavens and the earth which you have made, and in which you have made me, take hold of you?
An quia sine te non esset quidquid est, fit ut quidquid est capiat te?
Or because without you everything that is would not exist, does it happen that everything that is takes you?
Quoniam itaque et ego sum, quid peto ut venias in me, qui non essem, nisi esses in me?
Since therefore I also am, why do I ask that you come into me, who would not be unless you were in me?
Non enim ego jam in inferis, et tamen etiam ibi es.
For I am no longer in the underworld, and yet you are also there.
Nam etsi descendero in infernum, ades.
For even if I go down into hell, you will come.
Non ergo essem, Deus meus non omnino essem, nisi esses in me.
Therefore I would not be, my God would not be at all, unless you were in me.
An potius non essem, nisi essem in te, ex quo omnia, per quem omnia, in quo omnia?
Or should I rather not be, unless I were in you, from whom all things, through whom all things, in whom all things?
Etiam sic, Domine, etiam sic.
Even so, Lord, even so.
Quo te invoco, cum in te sim?
Where shall I call thee when I am in thee?
Aut unde venias in me?
Or where did you come into me?
Quo enim recedam extra coelum et terram, ut inde in me veniat Deus meus, qui dixit: Coelum et terram ego impleo?
For where shall I go beyond heaven and earth, that my God may come into me from thence, who said: I fill heaven and earth?
Capiunt ergone te coelum et terra, quoniam tu imples ea?
Do heaven and earth take hold of you, since you fill them?
An imples, et restat, quoniam non te capiunt?
Or do you fill it, and it remains, since they do not catch you?
Et quo refundis quidquid impleto coelo et terra restat ex te?
And where do you return whatever is left of you after filling heaven and earth?
An non opus habes, ut quoquam continearis, qui contines omnia; quoniam quæ imples, continendo imples?
Do you not need to be contained anywhere, who contain all things? because what you fill, you fill by containing?
Non enim vasa quæ te plena sunt, stabilem te faciunt; quia etsi frangantur, non effunderis.
For vessels that are full of you do not make you stable; because even if they are broken, you will not be spilled.
Et cum effunderis super nos, non tu jaces, sed erigis nos; nec tu dissiparis, sed colligis nos.
Sed qui imples omnia, te toto imples omnia?
But who fills all things, do you fill all things entirely?
An quia non possunt te totum capere omnia, partem tui capiunt, et eamdem partem simul omnia capiunt?
Or because they cannot take all of you, they take a part of you, and they take the same part of everything at the same time?
An singulas singula, et majores majora, minores minora capiunt?
Do they take each one individually, and the older ones the bigger ones, the smaller ones the smaller ones?
Ergo est aliqua pars tui major, aliqua minor.
Therefore some part of you is greater, some smaller.
An ubique totus es, et res nulla te totum capit?
Or are you all everywhere, and no thing takes you all in?
Quid es ergo, Deus meus?
What art thou then, my God?
Quid, rogo, nisi Dominus Deus?
What, I pray thee, but the Lord God?
Quis enim Dominus præter Dominum?
For who is the Lord but the Lord?
Aut quis Deus præter Deum nostrum?
Or who is God besides our God?
Summe, optime, potentissime, omnipotentissime, misericordissime et justissime, secretissime et præsentissime, pulcherrime et fortissime, stabilis et incomprehensibilis; immutabilis, mutans omnia; nunquam novus, nunquam vetus; innovans omnia, et in vetustatem perducens superbos, et nesciunt: semper agens, semper quietus; colligens, et non egens; portans, et implens, et protegens; creans, et nutriens, et perficiens; quærens, cum nihil desit tibi.
Most, most excellent, most powerful, most omnipotent, most merciful and most just, most secret and most present, most beautiful and most strong, stable and incomprehensible; immutable, changing all things; never new, never old; renewing all things, and bringing the proud into antiquity, and they do not know: always active, always quiet; collecting, and not needing; carrying, and filling, and protecting; creating, and nourishing, and perfecting; seeking, when you lack nothing.
Amas, nec æstuas; zelas, et securus es; poenitet te, et non doles; irasceris et tranquillus es; opera mutas, nec mutas consilium: recipis quod invenis, et nunquam amisisti; nunquam inops, et gaudes lucris; nunquam avarus, et usuras exigis.
You love, and you don't get hot; you are jealous, and you are secure; He will repent you, and you will not grieve; you are angry and calm; you change the works, and you do not change the plan: you receive what you find, and you have never lost; you are never helpless, and you rejoice in gains; never be avaricious, and demand interest.
Supererogatur tibi, ut debeas; et quis habet quidquam non tuum?
It is given to you as you owe; and who has anything that is not yours?
Reddis debita nulli debens, donas debita nihil perdens.
You pay your debts owing to no one, you give your debts losing nothing.
Et quid diximus, Deus meus, vita mea, dulcedo mea sancta?
And what did we say, my God, my life, my holy sweetness?
Aut quid dicit aliquis, cum de te dicit?
Or what does someone say when they say something about you?
Et væ tacentibus de te; quoniam loquaces muti sunt.
And woe to those who are silent about you; since the talkative are dumb.
Quis mihi dabit acquiescere in te?
Who will give me rest in you?
Quis mihi dabit ut venias in cor meum, et inebries illud, ut obliviscar mala mea, et unum bonum meum amplectar te?
Who will grant me that you may come into my heart, and intoxicate it, that I may forget my evils, and embrace you, my one good?
Quid mihi es?
What are you to me?
Miserere, ut loquar.
To pity, so to speak.
Quid tibi sum ipse, ut amari te jubeas a me, et nisi faciam irascaris mihi, et mineris ingentes miserias?
What am I to you, that you should command me to love you?
Parvane ipsa est, si non amem te?
How small is she, if I do not love you?
Dic mihi per miserationes tuas, Domine Deus meus, quid sis mihi.
Tell me through your compassions, O Lord my God, what you are to me.
Dic animæ meæ: Salus tua ego sum.
Say to my soul: I am your salvation.
Sic dic, ut audiam.
Say so, that I may hear.
Ecce aures cordis mei ante te, Domine; aperi eas, et dic animæ meæ: Salus tua ego sum.
Behold the ears of my heart before thee, O Lord; open them, and say to my soul: I am your salvation.
Curram post vocem hanc, et apprehendam te.
I will run after this voice and catch you.
Noli abscondere a me faciem tuam: moriar, ne moriar, ut eam videam.
Hide not thy face from me: let me die, lest I die, that I may see it.
Augusta est domus animæ meæ quo venias ad eam; dilatetur abs te.
Augusta is the house of my soul to which you may come; it will be extended from you.
Ruinosa est; refice eam.
It is ruinous; fix it
Habet quæ offendant oculos tuos; fateor et scio: sed quis mundabit eam?
It has things that offend your eyes; I confess and know: but who will clean it?
Aut cui alteri præter te clamabo, Ab occultis meis munda me, Domine, et ab alienis parce servo tuo?
Or to whom else shall I cry besides thee, Cleanse me from my secret things, O Lord, and spare thy servant from strangers?
Credo, propter quod et loquor; Domine, tu scis.
I believe, for which reason I speak; Lord, you know.
Nonne tibi prolocutus sum adversum me delicta mea, Deus meus: et tu dimisisti impietatem cordis mei?
Have I not told thee my transgressions against me, my God: and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my heart?
Non judicio contendo tecum qui veritas es; et ego nolo fallere meipsum, ne mentiatur iniquitas mea sibi.
I do not argue with you in judgment, who are the truth; and I do not want to deceive myself, lest my iniquity should lie to him.
Non ergo judicio contendo tecum; quia si iniquitates observaveris, Domine; Domine, quis sustinebit?
Sed tamen, sine me loqui apud misericordiam tuam, me terram et cinerem.
But still, without me speaking at your mercy, I am ground and ashes.
Sine tamen loqui; quoniam ecce misericordia tua est, non homo irrisor meus, cui loquor.
Without speaking, however; for behold, it is your mercy, not a man who mocks me, to whom I speak.
Et tu fortasse irrides me; sed conversus misereberis mei.
And perhaps you are mocking me; but you will turn and take pity on me.
Quid enim est quod volo dicere, Domine Deus meus, nisi quia nescio unde venerim huc?
For what is it that I want to say, Lord my God, except that I do not know whence I came here?
In istam dico vitam mortalem, an mortalem vitalem, nescio.
By this I mean mortal life, or mortal life, I do not know.
Et susceperunt me consolationes miserationum tuarum, sicut audivi a parentibus carnis meæ, ex quo et in qua formasti me in tempore; non enim ego memini.
And the consolations of your compassions received me, as I heard from the parents of my flesh, from whence and in whom you formed me in time; for I do not remember.
Exceperunt ergo me consolationes lactis humani.
They then welcomed me with the comforts of human milk.
Nec mater mea, vel nutrices meæ sibi ubera implebant: sed tu mihi per eas dabas alimentum infantiæ, secundum institutionem tuam et divitias usque ad fundum rerum dispositas.
Neither my mother nor my nurses filled their own breasts; but through them you gave me the nourishment of my childhood, according to your instruction and riches arranged to the bottom of things.
Tu etiam mihi dabas nolle amplius quam dabas; et nutrientibus me dare mihi velle quod eis dabas.
You would not have given me more than you did; and I would like to give to those who nursed me what you would have given to them.
Dare enim mihi per ordinatum affectum volebant quo ex te abundabant.
For they wished to give me by means of an orderly affection with which they abounded from you.
Nam bonum erat eis bonum meum ex eis; quod non ex eis, sed per eas erat: ex te quippe bona omnia, Deus; et ex Deo meo salus mihi universa.
For their good was my good from them; which was not from them, but through them: for all good things are from you, O God; and from my God is all salvation for me.
Quod animadverti postmodum, clamante te mihi per hæc ipsa quæ tribuis intus et foris.
I noticed that afterwards, you were crying out to me through the very things you give inside and outside.
Nam tunc sugere noram, et acquiescere delectationibus, flere autem offensiones carnis meæ; nihil amplius.
For then I should suck the bride, and be satisfied with pleasures, but weep over the offenses of my flesh; nothing more
Post et ridere coepi, dormiens primo, deinde vigilans.
After that I began to laugh, first asleep, then awake.
Hoc enim de me mihi indicatum est et credidi, quoniam sic videmus et alios infantes: nam ista mea non memini.
For this was told me about me, and I believed, since so we see other infants; for I do not remember these things.
Et ecce paulatim sentiebam ubi essem, et voluntates meas volebam ostendere eis per quos implerentur, et non poteram; quia illæ intus erant, foris autem illi, nec ullo suo sensu valebant introire in animam meam.
And behold, little by little I felt where I was, and I wanted to show them my wishes by whom they should be fulfilled, and I could not; because they were within, but they were without, and were not able to enter into my soul by any of their senses.
Itaque jactabam membra et voces, signa similia voluntatibus meis, pauca quæ poteram, qualia poteram: non enim erant veri similia.
And so I hurled limbs and voices, signs similar to my will, the few things I could, such as I could: for they were not like the truth.
Et cum mihi non obtemperabatur, vel non intellecto, vel ne obesset; indignabar non subditis majoribus, et liberis non servientibus, et me de illis flendo vindicabam.
And when he did not obey me, either because he did not understand, or because he did not obey; I was indignant at not obeying my elders, and not serving my children, and I vindicated myself by weeping over them.
Tales esse infantes didici quos discere potui, et me talem fuisse magis mihi ipsi indicaverunt nescientes, quam scientes nutritores mei.
I learned that such children were such as I could learn, and that I was such, they themselves told me more without knowing it, than my nurses knowing it.
Et ecce infantia mea olim mortua est, et ego vivo.
And behold, my childhood was once dead, and I live.
Tu autem, Domine, qui et semper vivis, et nihil moritur in te, quoniam ante primordia sæculorum, et ante omne quod vel ante dici potest, tu es, et Deus es Dominusque omnium quæ creasti: et apud te rerum omnium instabilium stant causæ; et rerum omnium mutabilium immutabiles manent origines; et omnium irrationabilium et temporalium sempiternæ vivunt rationes.
But you, Lord, who live always and nothing dies in you, because before the beginning of the ages, and before everything that can be said before, you are, and you are God and the Lord of all that you have created: and with you are the causes of all unstable things; and the origins of all changeable things remain unchangeable; and the eternal reasons of all irrational and temporal things live.
Dic mihi supplici tuo, Deus, et misericors misero tuo; dic mihi utrum jam alicui ætati meæ mortuæ successerit infantia mea: an illa est quam egi intra viscera matris meæ?
Tell me of your punishment, O God, and of your merciful pity; tell me whether my childhood has already succeeded to some age of my death: or is it what I did within the bowels of my mother?
Nam et de illa mihi nonnihil indicatum est, et prægnantes ipse vidi feminas.
For I was told something about that too, and I myself saw pregnant women.
Quid ante hanc etiam, dulcedo mea, Deus meus?
What, even before this, my sweetness, my God?
Fuine alicubi, aut aliquis?
Was it somewhere, or someone?
Nam quis mihi dicat ista, non habeo; nec pater nec mater potuerunt, nec aliorum experimentum, nec memoria mea.
For I have no one to tell me these things; neither father nor mother could, nor the experience of others, nor my memory.
An irrides me ista quærentem, teque de hoc quod novi, laudari a me jubes, et confiteri me tibi?
Do you mock me for asking these things, and order you to be praised by me for what I know, and to confess to you?