The Text in Translation

(Punctuation and capitalisation according to the Book of Common Prayer.)

We praise thee, O God : we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee : the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud : the heavens and all the powers therein.
To thee Cherubin and Seraphin : continually do cry,

In Praise of God the Father

Holy, Holy, Holy : Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the majesty; of thy glory.

The Sanctus from the Mass

The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world : doth acknowledge thee;

In praise of the whole of the Kingdom of God

The Father : of an infinite Majesty.
Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.

A Trinitarian Doxology

Thou art the King of glory : O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man : thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death :
thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come : to be our judge.

In praise of Christ.

We therefore pray thee help thy servants : whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.

A supplication to Christ.

O Lord save thy people : and bless thine heritage.
Govern them : and lift them up for ever.

Psalm 28 vv. 8-9

Petitions and
supplications to
Christ in the form
of quotations
from various
psalm verses.

Day by day : we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.

Psalm 34 v. 3

Vouchsafe, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.


O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.

Psalm 123 v. 3

O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us : as our trust is in thee.

Psalm 32 v. 22

O Lord, in thee have I trusted : let me never be confounded.

Psalm 31 v. 1

The earliest manuscript we have of a complete, musically notated, plainsong setting of the Te Deum dates from the twelfth century and is part of a Carthusian Gradual discovered in a monastic library on the Italian island of Capri. A slightly later document from the Sarum Rite (a liturgical rite peculiar to Salisbury, and a variant of the Roman Rite, which was prevalent across the south of England from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries) is almost identical to its Italian counterpart, despite the geographical distance between the two locations. A very similar thirteenth-century manuscript of a complete Te Deum also exists in the Worcester Antiphoner – a liturgical service book written at Worcester dating from the 1230s. Fragments of the Te Deum also exist in the Musica Enchiriadis, which is an anonymous musical treatise from the ninth century and is the earliest known document to set out guidelines for the notation of music. In this document, occasional verses exist in parallel organum – a system in which one voice chanted the plainsong melody and a second voice provided a descant, but at a fixed interval from the lower voice – usually a perfect fourth or fifth above. There is also an isolated early-English manuscript in which the final few verses of the plainsong melody of the Te Deum are notated, but with two parts above it, again at fixed intervals, essentially generating a progression of identically-spaced chords moving up and down the scale. (Usually 6:3 chords, with occasional 8:5 and 5:3 chords at cadences.) This type of organum is derived from the Notre Dame school in Paris, which was prevalent through the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.