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Stabat mater: Description

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For artistic depictions please see Stabat Mater (art).
Pietro Perugino's depiction of Stabat Mater (art), 1482.

Stabat Mater is a thirteenth century Roman Catholic sequence (poem) variously attributed to Innocent III[1] and Jacopone da Todi.[2] Its title is an abbreviation of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa ("The sorrowful mother stood"). The hymn, one of the most powerful and immediate of extant medieval poems, meditates on the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, during his crucifixion. It is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

It has been set to music by many composers, with the most famous settings being those by Palestrina, Pergolesi, Haydn, Rossini, and Dvořák.


Text and translation

The following translation is not word-for-word. Instead it has been adapted so as to represent the meter (trochaic tetrameter), rhyme scheme, and sense of the original text. A literal translation (word-for-word, without concern for adaptation into the target language) can be found here.

Stabat mater dolorosa
juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.

Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.

Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?

For the sins of His own nation,
She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:

She beheld her tender Child,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;

When my body dies,
let my soul be granted
the glory of Paradise. Amen.

Stabat Mater Speciosa

There also exists a Christmas counterpart to the Stabat Mater, entitled Stabat Mater Speciosa ("The beautiful mother stood").[1]

Musical settings

A series of articles on
Roman Catholic

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General articles
Overview of Mariology
Veneration of the Blessed VirginHistory of Mariology

Expressions of devotion

Specific articles
ApparitionsSaintsPopesDogmas and DoctrinesMovements & Societies

Composers who have written settings of the Stabat Mater include Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi; of the latter's setting, the German poet Tieck opined: "I had to turn away to hide my tears, especially at the place, 'Vidit suum dulcem natum'".[3] Joseph Haydn's Stabat Mater is considered "a treasury of refined and graceful melody".[4] Others who have written settings are Steffani, Clari, Emanuele d'Astorga, Winter, Raimondi, Vito, Lanza, Neukomm. In the 19th century, Gioacchino Rossini wrote his setting after retiring from the composition of opera, while Antonín Dvořák wrote his setting when he was still active in writing secular music. Most of the settings are in Latin, but Karol Szymanowski's setting is in Polish.

Others: John Browne, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Antonio Vivaldi, Charles Villiers Stanford, Charles Gounod, Krzysztof Penderecki, Francis Poulenc, Alessandro Scarlatti (1724), Domenico Scarlatti (1715), Pedro de Escobar, František Tůma, Vladimir Martynov, Arvo Pärt, Josef Rheinberger, Franz Schubert, Giuseppe Verdi, Pasquale Cafaro, Zoltán Kodály, Trond Kverno (1991), Pawel Lukaszewski (1994), Frank Ferko (1999), Salvador Brotons (2000), Hristo Tsanoff, Bruno Coulais (2005), the black metal band Anorexia Nervosa, the symphonic metal band Epica on the album The Classical Conspiracy, Karl Jenkins, and most recently the Finnish (one man) Funeral Doom band Stabat Mater (2009).

See also


  1. ^ p. 103, Larrimore (2001) Mark Joseph. Hoboken, New Jersey The Problem of Evil: A Reader Wiley-Blackwell. "The Stabat Mater ... was more likely the work of Innocent III."
  2. ^ p. 574, Alighieri, Durling, Martinez (2003) Dante, Robert M., Ronald L. Oxford The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio Volume 2 of The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri Oxford University Press. "The Stabat Mater by the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi."
  3. ^ Old Catholic Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Old Catholic Encyclopedia

External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stabat mater". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.

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