Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Iesous Ahatonnia.

For today's Feast of the North American Martyrs, here is a hymn attributed to one of the martyrs: the hymn "Iesous Ahatonnia," also known as the "Huron Carol," believed to have been written by Jean de Brébeuf sometime betwen 1641 and 1643. "Iesous Ahatonnia" ("Jesus is born") is a Christmas carol, with words in the indigenous language of the Wendat ("Huron") people whom the North American Martyrs served, set to the tune of a traditional French folk song, "Une jeune pucelle." In the above video, "Iesous Ahatonnia" is performed by Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett, following a choral arrangement by Ross W. Duffin.

Below, you may find the Wendat text of "Iesous Ahatonnia" attributed to Jean de Brébeuf, followed by a modern English translation by John Steckley; I have made a few minor stylistic changes to Steckley's text, none of which alters the sense of the original. The Wendat text and Steckley's translation (absent my modifications) may be found in the January 2011 bulletin of the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine.

Estennailon de tsonoue Iesous Ahatonnia
Onnaouateoua d'oki n'onouandaskouaentak
Ennonchien skouatrihotat
Iesous Ahatonnia, Iesous Ahatonnia.

Aloki onkinnhache eronhialeronnon
Iontok ontatiande ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Ouarie onnaouakoueton ndio sen
Iesous Ahatonnia, Iesous Ahatonnia.

Achink ontahonraskoua d'hatirihouannens
Tichion halonniondetha onhoua achia ahatren
Ondaie te hahahakoua tichion halonniondetha
Iesous Ahatonnia, Iesous Ahatonnia.

Thoi chien stahation tethotondi Iesous
Ahoatatende tichion stanchiteaouennion
Ahalonatorenten iatonk atsion sken
Iesous Ahatonnia, Iesous Ahatonnia.

Onne ontahation chiahonalen Iesous
Ahatichiennonnianon kahachiahandialon
Te honannonranouannion ihontonk oërisen
Iesous Ahatonnia, Iesous Ahatonnia.

Te ekouatatennonten ahekouachiendaen
Ti hekouannonronkouannion de sonouentenrade
Outoleti skouannonhoue ichierhe
Iesous Ahatonnia, Iesous Ahatonnia.


Have courage, you who are humans, Jesus is born.
Behold, the spirit who held us captive has fled.
Do not listen to it, as it corrupts our minds.
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!

The angels are spirits, coming with a message for us,
They are coming to say, "Rejoice!"
"Mary has just given birth - rejoice!"
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!

Three elders have left for such a place,
A star that has appeared over the horizon leads them there.
He who leads them there will seize the path.
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!

As they arrived where Jesus was born,
The star was stopping, he was not far past it.
They told themselves to come close to the star.
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!

Behold, they have arrived there and have seen Jesus.
They praised him, saying, "Hurray, he is good in nature!"
They greeted him with reverence, saying, "Hurray!"
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!

We will give him praise for his name.
Let us revere him, as he comes to show us compassion.
It is providential that he should love us and wish to adopt us.
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!

Some readers may know that I have a special devotion to the North American Martyrs, and that the religious name I took at the time of my First Vows in the Society of Jesus comes from one of them, Saint Isaac Jogues. On this bright Feast, I pray that Saints Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, and their Companions may intercede for us all and remember our individual needs and intentions. AMDG.


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