Aeterne gratias tibi (Michael Praetorius)

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  • (Posted 2011-07-27)  CPDL #24000:       
Editor: Ross Jallo (submitted 2011-07-27).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 31 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Original key.

General Information

Title: Aeterne gratias tibi
Composer: Michael Praetorius
Lyricist: Philip Melanchthon

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SacredHymn   Meter: 88. 88 (L.M.)

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1611 in Hymnodia Sionia, no. 121
Description: Praetorius provides two texts for this music, one for the Feast of St. John the Baptist and one for the Feast of the Visitation. This version has the latter text setting.

External websites:

  • Translation at Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Quarterly Book Review

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

1. Aeterne gratias tibi
dicamus omnes conditor,
Quod inter hostes plurimos,
Ecclesiam servas tamen.

2. Ut inter arma gentium,
Herodis et Satellites
Interque tetros dogmatum
Furores et deliria.

3. Servas Mariam virginem
Domumque castae_Elisabeth,
Quae praedicavit munus tuum,
Datumque Christum nuntiat.

4. Non Pontifex, non Principes,
etsi sciunt oracula
vatum, venisse noverant,
salutis autorem novae.

5. Sed dulcis haec Elizabeth,
et virginis congressio,
Arcana promit caeteris,
vere Deum colentibus

6. Alvoque foetus conditus,
longo sacerdotum agmini,
agnoscit, ignotum ducem,
adorat et gestu suo.

7. Haec prima Synodus fuit,
testata deo Christo duce,
postquam statuto tempore,
Verbum Patris factum est caro.

8. Accensa testimoniis,
in corde nostro talibus,
colat fides, et invocet,
Christum Mariae filium.

9. Opemque spe firma petat,
missumque credat a Patre.
ut invocantes adjuvet,
malisque cunctis liberet.

English.png English translation

1. Eternal Maker, unto Thee
May all our thanks and praises be,
Who in the midst of many a foe
Dost save Thy Church from every woe.

2. Through heathen arms in open view
And Herod’s mighty retinue
Through perils many and severe
And doctrines false and dangers sheer,

3. Thou didst Thy virgin spare from death
Until she reached Elizabeth
To tell her of Thy gift of grace,
Who madest her Thy dwelling-place.

4. Nor priest nor prince was giv’n to see
The tidings of that prophecy,
Nor in that spotless veil to view
The advent of our Savior true.

5. But rather did Elizabeth
Beside the Virgin, full of faith,
Those tidings to the faithful bring,
Who worshiped Christ as God and King.

6. As in the womb the prophet lay,
He knew his Lord of ancient day,
And Him to priests as yet unknown
Adored upon His virgin throne.

7. This first of synods so confessed
That there within the Virgin blest,
The Father’s Word, in hour foresaid,
Had taken flesh and man was made.

8. Now kindled by this witness pure,
Within our heart, a faith more sure
Must render praise and pray’r alone
To Christ, the virgin Mary’s Son,

9. And seek His help with hope unblent,
And trust in whom the Father sent
To save all those who on Him call,
And freedom grant from evils all.


Translation by Matthew Carver © 2011