Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Te Deum Laudamus! A prayer of thanksgiving (pt 2)

Yesterday, we looked at a great prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, Non nobis Domine. Today, I'd like to look at another, greater (and longer) prayer of thanks, Te Deum laudamus. 

The traditional attestation for the composition of this great hymn is to Saints Augustine and Ambrose on the occasion of Augustine's baptism, which would date the poem back into the fifth century. Many scholars today doubt Augustine or Ambrose had a hand in composing the hymn, but it remains a great and very ancient song of praise in the Church and has traditionally been sung after glorious victories in war, for the coronation of popes and kings, and has been a staple in the Divine Office, being sung at Matins (a traditional nighttime prayer for monks). The Church also grants the possibility of attaining a plenary indulgence to the faithful who, in spirit of thanksgiving, recite this prayer on New Year's Eve.

Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli;
tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum,
Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua,
Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.

Which was translated by John Dryden (1631–1700):

Thee, Sovereign God, our grateful Accents praise;

We own thee Lord, and bless thy wondrous ways;

To thee, Eternal Father, Earth’s whole Frame

With loudest Trumpets sounds immortal Fame.

Lors God of Hosts! For thee the heav’nly Pow’rs

With sounding Anthems fill the vaulted Tow’rs.

Thy Cherubims, thrice Holy, Holy, Holy cry;

Tjrice Holy, all the Seraphims reply.

And thrice returning Echoes endless Songs supply.

Both Heav’n and Earth thy Majesty display;

They owe their Beauty to thy glorious Ray.

Thy Praises fill the loud Apostles’ Quire:

The Train of Prophets in the Song conspire.

Legions of Martyrs in the Chorus shine,

And vocal Blood with vocal Musick join.

By these thy Church, inspir’d by heav’nly Art,

Around the World maintains a second Part,

And tunes her sweetest Notes, O God, to thee,

The Father of unbounded Majesty;

The Son, ador’d Co-partner of thy Seat,

And equal everlasting Paraclete.

Thou King of Glory, Christ, of the Most High

Thou co-eternal filial Deity;

Thou who, to save the World’s impending Doom,

Vouchsaf’dst to dwell within a Virgin’s Womb;

Old Tyrant Death disarm’d, before thee flew

The Bolts of Heav’n, and back the Foldings drew,

To give access, and make thy faithful way;

From God’s right Hand thy filial Beams display.

Thou art to judge the Living and the Dead;

Then spare those Souls for whom thy Veins have bled.

O take us up amongst thy blest above,

To share with them thy everlasting Love

Preserve, O Lord! thy People, and enhance

Thy Blessing on thine own Inheritance.

For ever raise their Hearts, and rule their ways,

Each Day we bless thee, and proclaim thy Praise;

No Age shall fail to celebrate thy Name,

No Hour neglect thy everlasting Fame.

Preserve our Souls, O Lord, this Day from Ill;

Have Mercy on us, Lord, have Mercy still:

As we have hop’d, do thou reward our Pain;

We’ve hop’d in thee, let not our Hope be vain.

And by the Book of Common Prayer:
We praise thee, O God :
    we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee :
    the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud :
    the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim :
    continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy :
    Lord God of hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty :
    of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world :
    doth acknowledge thee;
The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory : O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man :
    thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death :
    thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come : to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants :
    whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people :
    and bless thine heritage.
Govern them : and lift them up for ever.
Day by day : we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us :
    as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted :
    let me never be confounded.

Enjoy this beautiful rendition:

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