Robert White (±1538-1574): Miserere mei, Deus

White’s five-part (ATTBarB) setting of the Miserere consists chordal singing interspersed with imitative. It’s possible that White set it intending it to be sung alongside the Lamentations to which it bears a distinct resemblance particularly in the way in which in the block chords one voice leads the others thereby providing the vocal clarity that would otherwise have been almost impossible in a text of this length and complexity. Enjoy :-).


Miserere mei, Deus:
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Have mercy on me, O God:
according to thy great mercy.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum:
dele iniquitatem meam.
And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies:
blot out my iniquity.
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea:
et a peccato meo munda me.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity:
and cleanse me from my sin.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco:
et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me.
Tibi soli peccavi,
et malum coram te feci:
Against thee only have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
ut iustificeris in sermonibus tuis,
et vincas cum iudicaris.
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.
Ecce enim in inquitatibus conceptus sum:
et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity:
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti:
incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor:
lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam:
et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Make me to hear joy and gladness:
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis:
et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Hide thy face from my sins:
and blot out all mine iniquities.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus:
et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Create in me a clean heart, O God:
and renew a right spirit within me.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua:
et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Cast me not away from thy presence:
and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui:
et spiritu principali confirma me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation:
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas:
et impii ad te convertentur.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways:
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Libera me de sanguinibus,
Deus, Deus salutis meae:
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness,
O God, thou God of my salvation:
et exsultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips:
et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique:
and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it:
holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus:
thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus,
non despicies.
a broken and contrite heart, O God,
thou wilt not despise.
Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion:
ut aedificentur muri Ierusalem.
O be favourable and gracious unto Sion:
build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae,
oblationes, et holocausta:
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of
righteousness, with the burnt offerings and oblations:
tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.
then shall they offer young bullocks upon thine altar.


  • Gallicantus directed by Gabriel Crouch
  • David Allsopp & Mark Chambers — Countertenors
  • Richard Butler & Christopher Watson — Tenors
  • Gabriel Crouch & Nigel Short — Baritones
  • William Gaunt & Jimmy Holliday — Basses

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