"Ave Verum Corpus" ("Hail, True Body") is a Renaissance motet for men's voices by William Byrd. The work is based on the "Ave verum corpus" Eucharistic chant that has also been set to music by various composers. While the chant, attributed to Pope Innocent VI, dates from the 14th century,[1] Byrd's setting was first published in 1605.[2]

During the Middle Ages the chant was sung at the elevation of the sacramental bread during the consecration. It was also used frequently during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The poem is a meditation on the Catholic belief in Jesus's real presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and ties it to the Catholic conception of the redemptive meaning of suffering in the life of all believers.

The Virginia Glee Club has performed the Byrd setting several times.

Text[edit | edit source]

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie,
O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

Hail, true Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
having truly suffered, sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
from whose pierced side
water and blood flowed:
Be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death!

O sweet Jesus, O holy Jesus,
O Jesus, son of Mary,
have mercy on me. Amen.

Performances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Rubin, Miri (1992). Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 56. 
  2. "Ave verum corpus (William Byrd)". Choral Public Domain Library. http://www1.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Ave_verum_corpus_(William_Byrd). Retrieved 2020-02-05. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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