Vidi impium (Giacomo Carissimi)

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  • (Posted 2022-12-24)  CPDL #71997:         
Editors: Mick Swithinbank and Jonathan Goodliffe (submitted 2022-12-24).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 238 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Vidi impium
Composer: Giacomo Carissimi
Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: ATB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1655 in R. Floridus... alias cantiones sacras ab excellentissimis musices auctoribus concinnatas suavissimis modulis [...] in lucem edendas curavit, Rome: M. Cortellini, no. 1
Description: A 3 voice motet subsequently parodied by Henry Aldrich in his anthem "I am well pleased". The work uses text from Psalm 36 verses 35-36, Psalm 48 verse 18, and Wisdom of Solomon chapter 5 verse 15.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Vidi impium superexaltatum
et elevatum sicut cedros Libani,
et transivi, quaesivi illum et ecce non erat,
et non est inventus locus eius.

Spes illius tamquam lanugo est
quia vento tollitur,
Spes illius tamquam spuma gracilis
quae a procella dispergitur,
Spes illius tamquam fumus est
quia vento diffunditur.

Cunctus diebus suis superbat impius sonitus terroris in auris eius.

Semper insidias suspicatur.
Et undique territ eum tribulatio et angustia.

Neque descendet cum eo gloria eius.
Quid prosunt illi divitiae et gloria domus
quoniam cum interierit non sumit omnia?

English.png English translation

I have seen a wicked person highly exalted,
and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon.
And I passed by, and behold, he was not to be found:
and I sought him and his place was not found.

His hope (of salvation) is like a bird's down
which is carried away by the wind.
His hope is like the delicate spray
which is dispersed by the waves.
His hope is like smoke
which is dissolved by the wind.

All his days the wicked one will show off his pride
but will have the sound of terror in his ears.

He always suspects an ambush and from all directions
tribulation and problems fill him with terror.
Neither will his glory descend with him.
What use will his riches and the glory of his house be
when he cannot take them with him?