Haydn’s Te Deum in English translation

I’m working with a church choir, preparing to perform Haydn’s setting of the ancient Latin hymn Te Deum. Here are my notes on the text.

Te Deum

Adapted from the entries at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_deum

and at the Choral Public Domain Library: http://www2.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Te_Deum

Although I’m no expert in Latin, I have attempted to reorder some phrases from conventional English translations to provide a more word-by-word translation. For singing, it’s important to figure out what the most important word in each phrase needs to be.

Te Deum is an early Christian hymn of praise from around the 4th century, traditionally ascribed to Ambrose and Augustine. Contemporary scholars assign it to Nicetas of Remesiana. The closing section, adapted from various verses in the Psalms, was added later.

I have divided the text into four sections according to the musical structure of Haydn’s piece.

 

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
majestatis gloriae tuae.

Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,

Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,

Patrem immensae majestatis:
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.

Judex crederis esse venturus.

You O God, we praise:
You, Lord, we acknowledge to be.
You are the eternal Father.
All the earth venerates you.

To you all Angels;
to you the heavens and all the Powers.
To you Cherubim and Seraphim
with unending voice proclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of Sabaoth.
Full are heaven and earth
with the majesty of your glory.

You the glorious chorus of Apostles (praise),
You the praiseworthy number of the Prophets (praise),
You the white-clothed army of Martyrs praise.
You throughout all the world
are acknowledged by the holy Church,

Father of immense Majesty:
Who is to be worshiped, your true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

You are the King of Glory, O Christ.
You are the everlasting Son of the Father.
When you took upon yourself to deliver man,
you did not abhor the Virgin’s womb.

You, by overcoming the sting of death,
opened to all believers the Kingdom of Heaven.

You sit at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Our Judge we believe that you will come to be.

Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
To you therefore we ask you, help your servants:
whom you have redeemed with your precious blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria
numerari.

[added later, adapted from Psalm
verses]

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 eternity with your saints make them in
glory to be numbered.

[added later, adapted from Psalm
verses]

Save your people, Lord,
and bless your heritage.

And rule them, and lift them up for ever.
Every day we bless you;
And we worship your Name forever, and forever for all ages.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day without sin to keep us.
Have mercy upon us, our Lord, have mercy upon us.

Let your mercy be upon us, O Lord,  since we have
trusted in you.

In te, Domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.
In you, O Lord, I have trusted:
may I not be confounded forever.
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2 thoughts on “Haydn’s Te Deum in English translation”

  1. thank you. this is just what I wanted. Excellent effort. Now I can sing Te Deum with Meaning!

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