Translation © by David Wyatt

Lectio Quinta
Language: Latin 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Homo, natus de muliere, brevi vivens tempore, 
repletur multis miseriis.
Qui quasi flos egreditur et conteritur,
et fugit velut umbra, et numquam in eodem statu permanet.
Et dignum ducis super hujusquemodi aperire oculos tuos,
et adducere eum tecum in judicium?
Quis potest facere mundum de immundo conceptum semine?
Nonne tu, qui solus es?  Breves dies hominis sunt,
numerus mensium ejus apud te est:
constituisti terminos ejus, qui praeteriri non poterunt.
Recede ergo paululum ab eo, ut quiescat,
donec optata veniat, 
et sicut mercenarii, dies ejus.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Cinquième lecture", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , title 1: "Fifth lesson", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2010-04-05
Line count: 13
Word count: 85

Fifth lesson
Language: English  after the Latin 
Man born of woman, living for a brief time, 
is filled with many troubles.
He comes out like a flower and is cut down; 
he flees like a shadow and never remains in the same place.
Do you think it is worth opening your eyes on someone of this kind,
And bringing him to trial with you?
Who can make something clean if it is born from an unclean seed?
Are you not the only one? The days of a man are brief,
The number of his months is with you:
You have determined his ends, and they cannot go beyond that number.
Therefore go back a little from him, so that he may rest,
Until his day that he has desired should come, 
like that of a hired labourer.


  • Translation from Latin to English copyright © 2012 by David Wyatt, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2012-05-18
Line count: 13
Word count: 130