Latin texts

A summo caelo

A summo caelo egressio ejus, et occursus ejus, usque ad summum ejus.
It goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again.

Psalm verse:
Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei: et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum.
The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth His handy-work.


The Gloria was taken over from the Byzantine liturgy. The length of the text caused most of its melodies to be syllabic and simple in style, often consisting of two or three motives repeated with slight variation.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Glory be to God on high.

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
And in earth peace towards men of good will.

Laudamus te. Benedicimus te.
We praise Thee. We bless Thee.

Adoramus te. Glorificamus te.
We worship Thee. We glorify Thee.

Gratias agimus tibi propter magnum gloriam tuam.
We give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory.

Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

Domine Fili unigenite Jesu Christe.
O Lord, the only-begotten Son Jesu Christ.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei. Filius Patris.
O Lord God, Lamb of God.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostrum.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy upon us

Quoniam to solus sanctus. Tu solus Dominus.
For Thou only art holyThou only art the Lord.

Tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe.
Thou only, O Jesu Christ, art most high.

Cum Sancto Spiritu, in Gloria Dei Patris.
With the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father.



The Sanctus entered the Western liturgy from Byzantiumprobably during the 6th century. On major feast days it was sung to a moderately elaborate melody, but on less important occasions simpler melodies were used.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Saboath.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.


Plenisunt caeli et terra Gloria tua.
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.

Hosanna in excelsis.
Hosanna in the highest.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Hosanna in excelsis.
Hosanna in the highest.


No 7: Psalm In exitu Israel, with antiphon Deus autem noster

To the tonus peregrinus

Fifth psalm at Vespers on Sundays (Gregorian)

The psalm In exitu Israel was sung to a special psalm tone which stood outside the modal system, and was called the tonus peregrinus. This tone was used for no other text and was exceptional in having different reciting notes for each half of the verses.

Antiphon – Deus autem noster
Deus autem noster in caelo: omnia quaecumque voluit fecit.
Our God is even in heaven: whatsoever He has wished, He has made.

No 95: Hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus

Veni Creator Spiritus; mentes tuorum visita: imple superna gratia que tu creasti pectora.
Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest, Vouchsafe within our souls to rest;
Come with thy grace and heavenly aid, And fill the hearts which thou hast made.

Dies Irae

Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath) is a thirteenth century Latin hymn thought to be written by Thomas of Celano (1200 – c. 1265). It is a medieval Latin poem characterized by its accentual stress and its rhymed lines. The metre is trochaic. The poem describes the day of judgment, the last trumpet summoning souls before the throne of God, where the saved will be delivered and the unsaved cast into eternal flames.

The hymn is best known from its use as a sequence in the Roman Catholic Requiem mass. It was removed from the ordinary form of the Roman Rite mass in the liturgical reform of 1969–1970, but was retained as a hymn of the Divine Office. It can still be heard in the 1962 form of the mass. An English version is found in various Anglican Communion missals.

Those familiar with musical settings of the Requiem Mass—such as those by Mozart or Verdi—will be aware of the important place “Dies Iræ” held in the liturgy.

It remained as the sequence for the Requiem Mass in the Roman Missal of 1962 (the last edition before the Second Vatican Council) and so is still heard in churches where the Tridentine Latin liturgy is celebrated.

The “Dies Irae” was retained only in part by the “Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy” – the Vatican body charged with drafting and implementing reforms to the Catholic liturgy ordered by the Second Vatican Council. It is given as the hymn in the Liturgy of the Hours during last week before Advent for the Office of Readings, Lauds and Vespers (divided into three parts).

Nevertheless the same body felt that the funeral rite was in need of reform and eliminated the sequence as such from the Masses for the Dead. A leading figure in the post-conciliar liturgical reforms, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, explains the mind of the cardinals and bishops who were members of the consilium:

They got rid of texts that smacked of a negative spirituality inherited from the Middle Ages. Thus they removed such familiar and even beloved texts as the “Libera me, Domine“, the “Dies Iræ”, and others that overemphasized judgment, fear, and despair. These they replaced with texts urging Christian hope and arguably giving more effective expression to faith in the resurrection.

The Latin text below is taken from the Requiem Mass in the 1962 Roman Missal. The first English version below, translated by William Josiah Irons in 1849,[4] replicates the rhyme and metre of the original. The second English version is a more formal equivalence.

1 Dies iræ! Dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!
Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophets’ warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning!
The day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the world in ashes
As foretold by David and the sibyl!
2 Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando iudex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!
Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
when from heaven the Judge descendeth,
on whose sentence all dependeth.
How much tremor there will be,
when the judge will come,
investigating everything strictly!
3 Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth;
through earth’s sepulchers it ringeth;
all before the throne it bringeth.
The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
through the sepulchres of the regions,
will summon all before the throne.
4 Mors stupebit, et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Iudicanti responsura.
Death is struck, and nature quaking,
all creation is awaking,
to its Judge an answer making.
Death and nature will marvel,
when the creature arises,
to respond to the Judge.
5 Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus iudicetur.
Lo! the book, exactly worded,
wherein all hath been recorded:
thence shall judgment be awarded.
The written book will be brought forth,
in which all is contained,
from which the world shall be judged.
6 Iudex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet, apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.
When the Judge his seat attaineth,
and each hidden deed arraigneth,
nothing unavenged remaineth.
When therefore the judge will sit,
whatever hides will appear:
nothing will remain unpunished.
7 Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix iustus sit securus?
What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding,
when the just are mercy needing?
What am I, miserable, then to say?
Which patron to ask,
when [even] the just may [only] hardly be sure?
8 Rex tremendæ maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.
King of Majesty tremendous,
who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us!
King of tremendous majesty,
who freely savest those that have to be saved,
save me, source of mercy.
9 Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuæ viæ:
Ne me perdas illa die.
Think, good Jesus, my salvation
cost thy wondrous Incarnation;
leave me not to reprobation!
Remember, merciful Jesus,
that I am the cause of thy way:
lest thou lose me in that day.
10 Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti Crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.
Faint and weary, thou hast sought me,
on the cross of suffering bought me.
shall such grace be vainly brought me?
Seeking me, thou sat tired:
thou redeemed [me] having suffered the Cross:
let not so much hardship be lost.
11 Iuste iudex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.
Righteous Judge! for sin’s pollution
grant thy gift of absolution,
ere the day of retribution.
Just judge of revenge,
give the gift of remission
before the day of reckoning.
12 Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.
Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
all my shame with anguish owning;
spare, O God, thy suppliant groaning!
I sigh, like the guilty one:
my face reddens in guilt:
Spare the supplicating one, God.
13 Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.
Thou the sinful woman savedst;
thou the dying thief forgavest;
and to me a hope vouchsafest.
Thou who absolved Mary,
and heardest the robber,
gavest hope to me, too.
14 Preces meæ non sunt dignæ:
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.
Worthless are my prayers and sighing,
yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
rescue me from fires undying!
My prayers are not worthy:
however, thou, Good [Lord], do good,
lest I am burned up by eternal fire.
15 Inter oves locum præsta,
Et ab hædis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.
With thy favored sheep O place me;
nor among the goats abase me;
but to thy right hand upraise me.
Grant me a place among the sheep,
and take me out from among the goats,
setting me on the right side.
16 Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.
While the wicked are confounded,
doomed to flames of woe unbounded
call me with thy saints surrounded.
Once the cursed have been rebuked,
sentenced to acrid flames:
Call thou me with the blessed.
17 Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.
Low I kneel, with heart submission,
see, like ashes, my contrition;
help me in my last condition.
I meekly and humbly pray,
[my] heart is as crushed as the ashes:
perform the healing of mine end.
18 Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla
Iudicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Ah! that day of tears and mourning!
From the dust of earth returning
man for judgment must prepare him;
Spare, O God, in mercy spare him!
Tearful will be that day,
on which from the ash arises
the guilty man who is to be judged.
Spare him therefore, God.
19 Pie Iesu Domine,
dona eis requiem. Amen.
Lord, all pitying, Jesus blest,
grant them thine eternal rest. Amen.
Merciful Lord Jesus,
grant them rest. Amen.

In four-line neumatic notation, the Gregorian chant of the sequence begins:

The "Dies Irae" melody in four-line neumatic chant notation.

In 5-line staff notation, the same appears:

The "Dies Irae" melody in treble clef.

The words of “Dies Irae” have often been set to music as part of the Requiem service, originally as a sombre plainchant. It also formed part of the traditional Catholic liturgy of All Souls’ Day. Music for the Requiem Mass has been composed by many composers, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as Hector BerliozGiuseppe Verdi, and Igor Stravinsky.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Italian texts

From ‘Michelangelo: A Life on Paper’

Shopping list:

pani due                                    two breads
un bochal di vino                         a pitcher of wine
una aringa                                  a herring
torregli                                      filled pasta

una insalata                               a salad
quatro pani                                four breads
un bochal di tondo                       a pitcher of sweet wine
e un quartuccio di brusco              and a quarter of dry wine
un piatello di spinaci                   a little plate of spinach
quatro alice                                        four anchovies
tortelli                                       filled pasta

sei pani                                     six bread
dua minestre di finochio               two fennel soups
una aringa                                  a herring
un bochal di tondo                       a pitcher of sweet wine

Molti anni fassi qual felice, in una
brevissima ora si lamenta e dole;
o per famosa o per antica prole
altri s’inlustra e’n un momento s’imbruna.

One person passes many years in happiness,
and in a single fleeting hour is brought to misery and grief;
another shines brightly because of famous or ancient lineage,
and in a single moment loses all lustre.



l’arte e la morte non va bene insieme:
che convien più che di me dunche spere?

Art and death do not go well together:
in what, then, should I place my greatest hope?

Sonnet XXX [30] Veggio co’ be’ vostri occhi 

Veggio co' bei vostri occhi un dolce lume,
Che co' miei ciechi già veder non posso;
Porto co' vostri piedi un pondo addosso,
Che de' mie zoppi non è già costume.
Volo con le vostr'ale senza piume;
Col vostr'ingegno al ciel sempre son mosso;
Dal vostr'arbitrio son pallido e rosso,
Freddo al sol, caldo alle più fredde brume.
Nel voler vostro è sol la voglia mia,
I mie' pensier nel vostro cor si fanno,
Nel vostro fiato son le mie parole.
Come luna da sè sol par ch'io sia;
Chè gli occhi nostri in ciel veder non sanno
Se non quel tanto che n'accende il sole.

I see through your lovely eyes a sweet light
 which through my blind ones I yet cannot see;
 I carry with your feet a burden
 which with my lame ones I cannot;
 I fly with your wings, having none of my own;
 with your spirit toward heaven I am always moving;
 by your will I turn pale or blush,
 cold in the sun, warm in the coldest weather.
 Within your will alone is my will,
 my thoughts within your bosom are born,
 in your breath are my words.
 I am like the moon, alone,
 which our eyes cannot see in the heavens
 except that it is illumined by the sun.

(Carl Johengen)

Sonnet 151, c. 1538 – 44

Non ha l’ ottimo artista alcun concetto
che un marmo solo in sé non circonscriva
col suo soverchio; e solo a quello arriva
la man che obbedisce all’ intelletto.

Not even the best of artists has any conception               
that a single marble block does not contain                     
within its excess, and that is only attained                       
by the hand that obeys the intellect.

Alternative translation:

The master-craftsman hath no thought in mind 
That one sole marble block may not contain 
Within itself, but this we only find 
When the hand serves the impulse of the brain.

247. Caro m’è ‘l sonno, e più l’esser di sasso

Caro m’ è ’l sonno, più l’ esser di sasso,
mentre che ’l danno el la vergogna dura:
non veder, non sentir, m’ è ventura;
però non mi destar, deh! parla basso.

Slumber is sweet, but it were sweeter still
To turn to stone while shame and sorrow last,
Nor see, nor hear, and so be freed from ill;
Ah, wake me not! Whisper as you go past!

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Releasing the sculpture

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