Prayer of Saint Augustine (Joseph G. Stephens)

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  • (Posted 2000-07-11)  CPDL #01103:  Icon_pdf_globe.gif
Editor: Joseph G. Stephens (submitted 2000-07-11).   Score information: Letter, 14 pages, 62 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: first line - 'Quid es ergo, Deus, meus?'

General Information

Title: Prayer of Saint Augustine
Composer: Joseph G. Stephens

Number of voices: 8vv   Voicing: SSAATTBB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published:

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Quid est ergo deus meus? quid, rogo, nisi dominus deus? quis enim dominus praeter dominum?
aut quis deus praeter deum nostrum? summe, optime, potentissime, omnipotentissime, misericordissime et iustissime, secretissime et praesentissime,
pulcherrime et fortissime,stabilis et inconprehensibilis,
inmutabilis, mutans omnia, numquam novus, numquam vetus, innovans omnia;
in vetustatem perducens superboset nesciunt;
semper agens, semper quietus, colligens et non egens, portans et implens et protegens,
creans et nutriens, perficiens, quaerens, cum nihil desit tibi.
amas nec aestuas, zelas et securus es; paenitet te et non doles,
irasceris et tranquillus es, opera mutasnec mutas consilium;
recipis quod invenis et numquam amisisti; numquaminops et gaudes lucris,
numquam avarus et usuras exigis. supererogaturtibi, ut debeas,
et quis habet quicquam non tuum? reddens debita nullidebens,
donans debita nihil perdens.
et quid diximus, deus meus, vita mea, dulcedo mea sancta,
aut quid dicit aliquis, cum de te dicit?
et vae tacentibus de te, quoniam loquaces muti sunt.

English.png English translation

From the Confessions of Augustine, Book I, Chapter 4

What, then, art Thou, O my God--what, I ask, but the Lord God ?
For who is Lord but the Lord? Or who is God save our God.
Most high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most piteous and most just;
most hidden and most near; most beauteous and most strong,
stable, yet contained of none; unchangeable, yet changing all things;
never new, never old; making all things new,
yet bringing old age upon the proud and they know it not;
always working, yet ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing;
sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing;
seeking, and yet possessing all things.
Thou lovest, and burnest not; art jealous, yet free from care;
repentest, and hast no sorrow; art angry, yet serene;
changest Thy ways, leaving unchanged Thy plans;
recoverest what Thou findest, having yet never lost;
art never in want, whilst Thou rejoicest in gain;
never covetous, though requiring usury?
That Thou mayest owe, more than enough is given to Thee ;
as yet who hath anything that is not Thine ?
Thou payest debts while owing nothing;
and when Thou forgivest debts, losest nothing.
Yet, O my God, my life, my holy joy, what is this that I have said ?
And what saith any man when He speaks of Thee ?
Yet woe to them that keep silence, seeing that even they who say most are as the dumb?