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Three Women Texts & Translations

"In Principio"
By Patricia Van Ness

In principio spiritus Dei ferebatur super aqaus.

Laudate eum sol and luna,

omnes stellae luminaes,

caeli caelorum et aquae

quae super caelos sunt.

Laudate Dominum de terra,

draconnes et omnes abyssi,

ignis et grando nix et glacies.

In scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi,

et sub alis eius sperabis.


In the beginning the spirit of God

moved upon the face of the waters.

Praise God, sun and moon, all the stars of light,
the heavens and the waters

that be above the heavens.
Praise God from the earth,

you dragons and all deeps,

fire and hail, snow and vapour.
God shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under God’s wings shall thou trust (hope). Amen.

"Remember the Ladies"
By Inés Velasco
Excerpts from Abigail Adams' letter to her husband, John Adams (1776)

I desire you would remember–

All men would be tyrants if they could–

I desire you would remember us!

Don't put such power in the hands of men–

Remember us.

We will not hold ourselves bound by any law

Where we have no voice.

I desire you would remember us!

"On Imagination"
By Melika M. Fitzhugh
Excerpts from Phillis Wheatley (Peters)’s poem “On Imagination”
from Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773

Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?

Soaring through air to find the bright abode,

Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,

Measure the skies, and range the realms above.

There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,

Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.

Stanza 7:

Fancy might now her silken pinions try
To rise from earth, and sweep th' expanse on high:

From Tithon's bed now might Aurora rise,

Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,

While a pure stream of light o'erflows the skies.

The monarch of the day I might behold,
And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,
But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,

Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;

Winter austere forbids me to aspire,
And northern tempests damp the rising fire;

They chill the tides of Fancy's flowing sea,

Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

"Hello, I Am Lucy Stone"
By Emily Lau

Texts inspired by the writings of Lucy Stone (1818-1893)

Hi, I am Lucy Stone
I am the first woman college graduate of Massachusetts
I am the first married woman who kept her own name in the US.
What do you believe, Lucy? What do you believe?
Equal work for equal pay!
How do you do it, Lucy? How do you do it?
I work very very hard, I have ingenuity, I have grit, I believe,
I believe!
Disappointment is the lot of women, name of women.
(It shall be the business of my life)
I will not trade my integrity for winning, for fame,
I hope that my work for women and Black folks will live out my name!

I will not trade my humility, for my kind of work is life-long work
for the betterment of women and Black folks who’ll outlive my name!

Hi I am Lucy Stone.
I believe the cause of the blacks and women are all tied together.
Hi, I am Lucy Stone; my last words before I died (before she died)
I believe in the eternal order; there is a movement, swift or slow,

Toward what is right and what is true.

"O Deus"
By Hildegard von Bingen

From Ordo Virtutum (Play of the Virtues) in Simphonia

O Deus, quis es tu, qui in temet ipso

Hoc magnum consilium habuisti,

Quod destrucit infernalem haustum

in publicanis et peccatoribus,

qui nunc lucent in superna bonitate!

Unde, O Rex, laus sit tibi.

O God, who are you, who within yourself

Had this great plan

which destroyed hell's poison

In publicans and sinner,

Who now shine in paradisal goodness!

Therefore, O King, praise be to you.

"Priego ad Amore"
By Barbara Strozzi

Pietosissimo Amore.
Tu mai non abbandoni
chi h consacra riverente il core.
Chi cieco ti figura, chi nudo, chi bendato,
chi di saette armato.
Non provo tua dolcissima natura

ne morir mai languir,

rna per un poco e gloria del tuo foco
Vieni, deh vieni a noi. Vieni, gioia dell' alme.
Spargi benigno i doni tuoi.
E d'un cortese affetto alIa Barbara

mia feconda il petto.

Most merciful Love.
You never abandon
one who reverently offers the heart to you.
Who envisions Thee blind, naked, blindfolded,
armed with arrows.
Untested is your sweet nature either by death or misery, but brief is the glory of your fire.
Come, ah come to us.

Come, joy of the soul.
Bestow your sweet gifts.
And for a kind affection toward my Barbara
make the heart fertile.

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