What are the lyrics to ‘Ave verum corpus’?

Dating back to the 13th century, the prayer Ave verum corpus has been set to music by many famous composers, including Mozart. Here are the renowned words in both the original Latin and English

Ave verum corpus lyrics

When were the lyrics to ‘Ave verum corpus’ written and who wrote them?

Thought to believe to have originated in the 13th century, ‘Ave verum corpus’ is an Eucharistic chant (holy communion chant). It is thought to have been written by Pope Innocent III, Innocent IV, Innocent V or Innocent VI

Advertisement

It has been set to music by many different composers, including William Byrd and Sir Edward Elgar, but perhaps the most famous version is Mozart’s

When and why did Mozart write ‘Ave verum corpus’?

Mozart composed this motet in D major  in 1791 during the last year of his life, when he was visiting his wife Constanze  in Austria. He wrote it for his friend Anton Stoll, and Joseph Haydn to celebrate  the feast of Corpus Christi.

What does Ave verum corpus’mean?

Ave verum corpus means Hail, true body.

What are the original Latin lyrics to ‘Ave verum corpus’?

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

What are the lyrics to ‘Ave verum corpus’ in English

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.

Find more lyrics to famous hymns

Read our reviews of the latest Mozart recordings 

Find out more about Mozart and his works

Advertisement

Top image by Getty Images