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War Requiem

Word count: 0

by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. Requiem aeternam

Note: this is a multi-text setting

Requiem aeternam dona [ei]1, [Domine]2, 
et lux perpetua luceat ei. 3
Te decet Hymnum, Deus in Sion: 
et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem: 
Exaudi orationem meam, 
ad te omnis caro veniet. 
Requiem aeternam: dona ei, 
Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Geef hun eeuwige rust (Requiem aeternam)"

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten, Howells: "eis", passim.
2 omitted by Howells.
3 Rossini adds here: "Requiescant in pace. Amen."

Britten's version is divided between the chorus and the boys' chorus this way:

Chorus
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Boys' Chorus
Te decet hymnus, Deus in Sion:
et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem;
exaudi orationem meam, 
ad te omnis caro veniet.

Chorus
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.



Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] and Salvador Pila [Guest Editor]

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
  Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
  Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, --
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
  Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
  The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Hymne für verlorene Jugend", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

In Britten's War Requiem, this is sung by the tenor.



Submitted by Jason Rico

Κύριε ελέησον. 
Χριστε ελέησον. 
Κύριε ελέησον.

Show a transliteration: DIN | ISO 843

Note on Transliterations

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Transliteration:
Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison.


Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]

2. Dies irae

Note: this is a multi-text setting

Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla:
teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulcra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
cum resurget creatura,
judicanti responsura.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Guido (Pieter Theodoor Jozef) Gezelle) , "Kwade dag (Dies irae)", appears in Kerkhof-blommen, first published 1858

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.


Submitted by Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

Bugles sang, saddening the evening air;
And bugles answered, sorrowful to hear.
Voices of boys were by the river-side.
Sleep mothered them; and left the twilight sad.
The shadow of the morrow weighed on men.
Voices of old despondency resigned,
Bowed by the shadow of the morrow, slept.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Voix", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

[ ... ]
Liber scriptus proferetur, in quo totum continetur, unde mundus judicetur. Judex ergo cum sedebit, quidquid latet apparebit: nil inultum remanebit. Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus, cum vix justus sit securus? Rex tremendae majestatis, qui salvandos salvas gratis, salva me fons pietatis.
[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Guido (Pieter Theodoor Jozef) Gezelle) , "Kwade dag (Dies irae)", appears in Kerkhof-blommen, first published 1858

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.


Submitted by Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death:
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland, --
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath, --
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorused when he sang aloft;
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against his powers.
We laughed, knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars: when each proud fighter brags
He wars on Death, for Life; not men, for flags.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La prochaine guerre", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

[ ... ]
Recordare, Jesu pie, quod sum causa tuae viae: ne me perdas illa die. Quaerens me, sedisti lassus: redemisti Crucem passus: tantus labor non sit cassus.
[ ... ]
Ingemisco, tamquam reus: culpa rubet vultus meus: supplicanti parce, Deus. Qui Mariam absolvisti, et latronem exaudisti, mihi quoque spem dedisti.
[ ... ]
Inter oves locum praesta, et ab haedis me sequestra, statuens in parte dextra. Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis: voca me cum benedictis. Oro supplex et acclinis, cor contritum quasi cinis: gere curam mei finis.
[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Guido (Pieter Theodoor Jozef) Gezelle) , "Kwade dag (Dies irae)", appears in Kerkhof-blommen, first published 1858

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.


Submitted by Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse.
Spend our resentment, cannon,-yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.

Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison
Must wither innocent of enmity,
Be not withdrawn, dark arm, the spoilure done,
Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note: Britten uses lines 1-2,5-6,13-14 only.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla:
teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

[ ... ]
Lacrimosa dies illa, qua resurget ex favilla judicandus homo reus. [Huic ergo parce, Deus:]1 [pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem. Amen.]2

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Guido (Pieter Theodoor Jozef) Gezelle) , "Kwade dag (Dies irae)", appears in Kerkhof-blommen, first published 1858

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.


Submitted by Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields [unsown]1.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning, and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know. 

Think how it wakes the seed -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved - still warm - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break [earth's]2 sleep at all?

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Futilité", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Nation, 1918
1 in some editions, "half-sown"
2 Rands: "the earth's"


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

[ ... ]
[Huic ergo parce, Deus:]1 [pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem. Amen.]2

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Guido (Pieter Theodoor Jozef) Gezelle) , "Kwade dag (Dies irae)", appears in Kerkhof-blommen, first published 1858

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.


Submitted by Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

3. Offertorium

Note: this is a multi-text setting

Domine Iesu Christe, Rex gloriæ,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de pœnis inferni et de profundo lacu.
libera eas de ore leonis,
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
Sed signifer sanctus Michael 
repræsentet eas in lucem sanctam,
quam olim Abrahæ promisisti Abrahae et semini eius.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Ofertori", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Heer Jezus Christus (Offertorium in de Requiemmis)"

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten inserts here the following line from The parable of the Old Man and the Young: "And half the seed of Europe, one by one" and then repeats the line.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenched there,
And streched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! and angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son, 
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

[ ... ]
Hostias et preces tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus; tu suscipe pro animabus illis, quarum hodie memoriam facimus. Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam. Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.1

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Ofertori", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Heer Jezus Christus (Offertorium in de Requiemmis)"

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten inserts here the following line from The parable of the Old Man and the Young: "And half the seed of Europe, one by one" and then repeats the line.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]

4. Sanctus

Note: this is a multi-text setting

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus,
Domine Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
[Hosanna in excelsis!]1

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Heilig, heilig, heilig"
  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "Holy", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Sanctus", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Howells.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.1

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten and Martin append "Hosanna in excelsis" (from Sanctus)


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

After the blast of lightning from the East,
The flourish of loud clouds, the Chariot Throne;
After the drums of time have rolled and ceased,
And by the bronze west long retreat is blown,

Shall life renew these bodies? Of a truth
All death will He annul, all tears assuage? -
[Or fill these void veins full again with youth]1,
And wash, with an immortal water, Age?

When I do ask white Age he saith not so:
"My head hangs weighed with snow."
And when I hearken to the Earth, she saith:
"My fiery heart shrinks, aching. It is death.
Mine ancient scars shalls not be glorified,
Nor my titanic tears, the sea, be dried."

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La fin", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)

First published in the Saturday Westminster Gazette, 1919.

1 Britten: "Fill the void veins of Life again with youth"


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Agnus Dei

Note: this is a multi-text setting

One ever hangs where shelled roads part.
In this war He too lost a limb,
But His disciples hide apart;
And now the Soldiers bear with Him.

Near Golgatha strolls many a priest,
And in their faces there is pride
That they were flesh-marked by the Beast
By whom the gentle Christ's denied.

The scribes on all the people shove
And bawl allegiance to the state,
But they who love the greater love
Lay down their life; they do not hate.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note: in Britten's setting, each stanza is separated by lines from Agnus dei. The two texts are interleaved.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Agnus Dei, 
qui tollis peccata mundi, 
dona eis requiem. 
Agnus Dei, 
qui tollis peccata mundi, 
dona eis requiem. 
Agnus Dei, 
qui tollis peccata mundi, 
dona eis requiem sempiternam.
[Dona nobis pacem.]1

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Lam Gods"
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Penderecki.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Libera me

Note: this is a multi-text setting

Libera me, Domine, 
de morte aeterna 
in die illa tremenda,
quando cœli movendi sunt et terra;
dum veneris iudicare 
sæculum per ignem.

[Tremens factus sum ego, 
et timeo, 
dum discussio venerit 
atque ventura ira.

Dies illa, dies iræ, 
calamitatis et miseriæ,
dies magna et amara valde.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Verlos mij, Heer (Libera me)", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , "Deliver me, Lord, from death", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 not set by Bruckner and Tallis



Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]


It seems that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
"Strange friend," I said, "here is no cause to mourn."
"None", said the other, "save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil boldly, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Miss we the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even from wells we sunk too deep for war,
Even from the sweetest wells that ever were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now..."

The text shown is a variant of another text.

It is based on


See other settings of this text.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Libera me", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

In paradisum deducant te angeli,
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres,
[et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem]1.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
et com Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.2

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lau Kanen) , "Naar het paradijs", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Wallach.
2 Britten adds (from another section of the Requiem):
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace. 
Amen.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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