by Anonymous / Unidentified Author
Translation © by David Wyatt

Rite majorem Jacobus canamus
Language: Latin 
Available translation(s): ENG
 Rite majorem Jacobus canamus,
 Ordinis summi decus, o fideles.
 Blanda sit semper tibi sors viator.
 Exite, laudes, hominum patrono!
 Rebus et frater paribus Jesus
 Tam novas Christi facies uterque
 Visit; ut Petrus sequitur magistrum
 Sponte, dilectus fieri alumnus.

 Audivit vocem Jacobi sonoram
 Corda divinis penitus moventem
 Legis acceptae Pharisaeus hostis;
 Ora conversus lacrimis rigavit.

 Vinctus a turba prius obsequente.
 Cum magus sperat Jacobum ligare,
 Vertit in penas rabiem furoris,
 Respuit tandem magicos abusus.

 Artibus summis miseri reclusi,
 Tanta qui fidunt Jacob merenti,
 Vinculis ruptis petiere terram
 Saltibus gressu stupuere, planam.

 Sopor annosae paralysis altus
 Accitu sancti posuit rigorem.
 Novit ut Christi famulum satelles,
 Colla dimisit, venerans ligatum.
 Tu patri natum laqueis iniquis
 Insitum servas.
 Duce te precamur:
 Jam mori vi non metuat viator,
 At suos sospes repetat penates!

 Corporis custos animaeque fortis,
 Omnibus prosis baculoque sancto
 Bella tu nostris moveas ab oris.
 Ipse sed totum tege jam Robertum!


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):

  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , title 1: "According to custom, let us sing to St James the Greater", 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: 2009-01-08
Line count: 35
Word count: 150

According to custom, let us sing to St James the Greater
Language: English  after the Latin 
 According to custom, let us sing to St James the Greater,
 The ornament of the highest rank, o faithful people.
 May fate that goes with you be kind to you.
 Go out, praises, to the patron of mankind!.

 His brother too, in all ways his equal, saw with him
 The so-changed appearance of Christ1;
 Like Peter he followed the master
 Freely, chosen to become his disciple.

 The Pharisee, enemy of the law received [from God],
 Heard the ringing voice of James
 Moving his heart within him by its inspiration;
 Converted he washed his face with tears.

 Bound by a previously-submissive crowd2
 When a sorcerer hoped to tie up James,
 He coverted the madness of his raging into penance
 And at last rejected the misused magic.

 The wretched, shut away by great arts,
 Who trusted so greatly in deserving James,
 Leapt towards the open ground, their chains broken,
 And were amazed.

 The deep tiredness of many years' paralysis
 Set aside its rigidity at the saint's summons.
 As the attendant recognised Christ's servant
 He set him free, venerating the bound man.
 You saved the son, trapped in unjust bonds, 
 For his father.
 We beg you as our leader,
 That the traveller should not now fear to die by violence,
 And unharmed should regain his own household!

 Strong guardian of body and soul,
 Do good to us all and with your holy staff
 Remove war from our lands.
 And you yourself, now protect Robert entirely!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 i.e. the Transfiguration of Christ
2 my translation assumes this line is part of the same sentence as the following


  • 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: 2012-07-03
Line count: 35
Word count: 244