Panis angelicus

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The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

The last two stanzas of the hymn Sacris solemniis, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas for Matins of Corpus Christi and of the Votive Office of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The rhythmic stanza imitates the classical measures found in Horace and in several hymns of the Roman Breviary; but for whatever excellence the hymn lacks in respect of classical prosody it compensates in the interesting and intricate rhymic scheme.

Several references are made to the hymn by Hincmar of Reims, one of the most interesting being his objection to the theology of the last stanza (Te trina Deitas). Hincmar admits that he knew not the author of the hymn which "some people end with the chant or rather blasphemy [a quibusdam cantatur vel potius blasphematur] Te trina deitas." The phrase objected to was nevertheless sung in the doxology of the hymn down to the revision of pope Urban VIII.

Delaporte (Les Hymnes du bréviaire romain in the Rassegna Gregoriana, Nov.-Dec., 1907, col. 501) remarks that, when the edition of 1602 of the Roman Breviary was in preparation, Cardinal Gesualdo in 1588 wrote to various nuncios to get suggestions for emendations. The nuncio at Paris consulted alcuni principali della Sorbona, with some curious results, one of which was the criticism demanding a change in the doxology of the Sacris solemniis from "Te trina Deitas" to "Te summa Deitas", for the reason that "it is impious to call the Deity, or the essence of God, threefold".

Musical settings at CPDL

Other settings possibly not included in the manual list above

Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Panis angelicus
Fit panis hominum;
Dat panis coelicus
Figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis!
Manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus et humilis.

Te trina Deitas,
Unaque poscimus,
Sic nos tu visita,
Sicut te colimus;
Per tuas semitas
Duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.

English.png English translation

The bread of the angels
becomes the bread of man;
the bread of heaven
is given a bounded form.
O wondrous thing!
The poor, the slave and the humble man
feed on their lord.

Of you, threefold and
one God, we ask:
Come to visit us
as we worship you;
lead us on your paths
to where we want to go:
to the light in which you dwell.

French.png French translation

Le pain des anges
Devient le pain des hommes.
Le pain du ciel met
Un terme aux symboles.
Ô chose admirable !
Il mange son Seigneur
Le pauvre, le serviteur, le petit.

Dieu Trinité
Et Un, nous te le demandons,
Daigne par ta visite
Répondre à nos hommages.
Par tes voies, conduis-nous
Au but où nous tendons,
À la lumière où tu demeures.

Dutch.png Dutch translation

Het brood der engelen wordt
het brood der mensen.
Dit hemelse brood maakt
een einde aan de schaduwen.
O wonderbaar gebeuren!
Arme, dienstknecht en geringe:
gedenkt uw Heer!

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