We hear the moving ancient hymn “Attende Domine” frequently during the season of Lent, especially at TLM masses.  It is the cry of repentant sinners imploring God’s forgiveness: Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi: literally, “Take heed, Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned against you.”

The Latin text dates from around the tenth century, and is thought to be Mozarabic in origin.  “Mozarabic” is a modern term that refers to the language and liturgy of Christians in the Moslem controlled areas of Spain in the Middle Ages (like “Byzantine”, this term a fairly recent invention which was completely unknown to the people to whom it refers). The melody is not Spanish, but is a Gregorian Chant in mode V.

The clip below features singing by by the Sunday 7pm Choir at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Ajax, Ontario. The painting is “The Crucifixion” by Rembrandt.  I have posted the Latin, along with a popular English adaptation, below the clip.

℟. Attende, Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

  1. Ad te Rex summe, omnium redemptor,
    oculos nostros sublevamus flentes:
    exaudi, Christe, supplicantum preces. ℟.
  2. Dextera Patris, lapis angularis,
    via salutis, ianua caelestis,
    ablue nostri maculas delicti. ℟.
  3. Rogamus, Deus, tuam maiestatem:
    auribus sacris gemitus exaudi:
    crimina nostra placidus indulge. ℟.
  4. Tibi fatemur crimina admissa:
    contrito corde pandimus occulta:
    tua Redemptor, pietas ignoscat. ℟.
  5. Innocens captus, nec repugnans ductus,
    testibus falsis pro impiis damnatus:
    quos redemisti, tu conserva, Christe. ℟.

℟. Hear us, O mighty Lord,show us your Mercy: Sinners we stand before you.

  1. To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
    lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings:
    listen, O Jesu, to our supplications. ℟.
  2. O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
    way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
    cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement. ℟.
  3. God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
    bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
    pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses. ℟.
  4. Sins oft committed now we lay before thee:
    with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
    grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution. ℟.
  5. Innocent, captive, taken unresisting:
    falsely accused and for us sinners sentenced,
    save us, we pray thee, Jesu our Redeemer. ℟.

Adaptation by W.J. Birkbeck in The English Hymnal[4]

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