Miserere

Have mercy, O God

Miserere meu, Deus (by Allegri), sung by the Choir of New College, Oxford

Miserere mei, Deus’ English Translation excerpts

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.
According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies remove my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquities, and cleanse me from my sin.
I knowingly confess my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me….

Create in me a clean heart, O God: and make anew a righteous spirit within my body.
Do not cast me away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit….

O Lord, open my lips: and my mouth shall spring forth Thy praise.
….with burnt offerings Thou wilt not be delighted.
Sacrifices of God are broken spirits: dejected and contrite hearts, O God, Thou wilt not despise.


Gregorio Allegri composed Miserere mei, Deus in the 1630s, during the papacy of Pope Urban VIII. This sacred music was written for use in the Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” during Holy Week. Pope Urban VIII found it so holy that he forbid this piece to be performed elsewhere outside of the Sistine Chapel where it was performed exclusively for over 100 years.  Translation and excerpt with gratitude to Aaron Green, Miserere mei, Deus Lyrics and English Translation, published by the Thoughtco.com on June 29, 2018.

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