Te Deum Laudamus! (We like a bit of Latin!)

P1110860 copy No, that’s not the translation, it’s ‘We praise thee, O God!’ and comes from an ancient Christian Hymn known as Te Deum. Its joyful words are still in use, mainly at the service of Morning Prayer. Unusually, Dvorak didn’t compose his setting of Te Deum for church use but for the concert hall – Carnegie Hall. He had been commissioned to write a work befitting the 400th anniversay celebration of Columbus’s discovery of America, which is also why Dvorak added words of blessing to the end of the text.

The two hundred and twenty singers of the Nottingham Festival Chorus spent today polishing both Te Deum and Haydn’s beautiful yet striking Nelson Mass. Along with Dvorak’s P1110863 copyCarnival Overture these form the programme of a concert next Saturday, 4th February at 7.3opm, at Nottingham’s Albert Hall. All the music is music to lift the spirits, lighten the heart and gladden the soul – what more could be wanted in the middle of winter (and other unmentionables)? Click here to buy your ticket(s) . If you’re in the choir, buy them for friends and family at tomorrow’s rehearsal.

Sometimes translations are included in published music but sometimes not, as with Te Deum, so here are the words the choir has been rehearsing in Latin along with the English translation. The subdivisions of the text are those chosen by Dvorak.


1.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.

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 cherubin and seraphin continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.

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.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
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.

2.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.

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.

3.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.

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.

4.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.
In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

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.

Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu;
Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula. Alleluja.

Blessed be the Father and the Son with the Holy Ghost;
Praise and exalt Him for ever. Alleluia.

English translation: The Book of Common Prayer.
Extracts from The Book of Common Prayer, the rights in which are vested in the Crown, are reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press