Sarah Brightman - In Paradisum

Requiem aeternam dona eis.
Domine, et lux perpetua,
Requiem aeternam,
Aeternam dona eis.
Perpetua luceat [eis].

In Paradisum.
Christe eleison.

Dona eis requiem sempiternam.
In Paradisum.
Christe eleison.
In Paradisum.

Music and lyrics: Peterson / Brightman

From: Eden (1998).

Source of the lyrics: the CD-booklet,
except for the third stanza, which is written down by me, with a correction thanks to Bjorn Harald Handeland.

The word eis at the end of the fifth line in the first stanza is printed in the CD-booklet, but it is not sung by Sarah (see also below).
(The translation given below shows that the interpunction, copied from the booklet, is not really correct.)

Using the translation of "Pie Jesu" and a small Latin-Dutch dictionary, I made a first translation; thanks go to Walter H. Padilla Ramírez for remarks and suggestions to improve that translation.
Some remarks:
  >  The Latin word paradisum can be translated as "paradise" or as "heaven"; I guess "heaven" is best here.
  >  The eis printed in the 5th line, but not sung by Sarah, means "them". This word is out of place if perpetua luceat is translated as "Perpetual light", which I had first. Walter argued that luceat is not a noun but a verb, meaning "to illuminate". In that case the "them" makes sense. Furthermore, luceat eis is used several times in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem-production, says Walter. Hence, I have chosen to adapt the translation (my knowledge of Latin is too scanty to disagree).
  >  The Latin words aeternam, perpetua and sempiternam all mean roughly the same: "eternal, everlasting, ...". To indicate the difference, I translate: aeternam=eternal, perpetua=perpetual, sempiternam=everlasting.
  >  According to Walter requiem does not just mean "rest" but actually "eternal rest" or "endless rest" or so, which would make requiem aeternam mean "endless eternal rest". I am not convinced that this is true: in the Roman-Catholic liturgy it is "Lord, grant them eternal rest", without any doubling. Hence, I use just "rest" for requiem.

In Heaven

Grant them eternal rest,
Lord, and perpetual light
Eternal rest
Grant them eternal
Illuminate them perpetually

In Heaven
Christ have mercy

Grant them everlasting rest
In Heaven
Christ have mercy
In Heaven


Some notes on the background of the lyrics

Bill Bowling gave me via email some background as to where the lyrics of this song from Sarah come from. The lyrics are a combination of words from four different prayers:
  1. The song takes its title from the In Paradisum prayer, a prayer of farewell at the end of the Mass of Christian Burial:

    In paradisum deducant te angeli
    In tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres
    Et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem
    Chorus angelorum te suscipiat
    Et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
    Eternam habeas requiem
    May the angels lead you into paradise
    May the martyrs greet your arrival
    And lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem
    May choirs of angels welcome you
    And with Lazarus, who once was poor
    May you have rest eternally

    Randall Taylor pointed out that In Paradisum is not part of a proper requiem mass but rather from the "Office of the Dead" (Officium Defunctorum), used on a day that someone has died. Randall also mentioned that the word "aeternam" (eternal) was missing from the last line.

  2. Another source is the prayer for the dead, which can be addended to any prayer (the "eis" in the first line is the indirect object of both sentences, just as in English):

    Requiem aeternam dona eis
    Et lux perpetua luceat
    Eternal rest grant them
    And may perpetual light shine [on them].

  3. The "Dona eis requiem" in Sarah's song is more similar to the Agnus dei (Lamb of God), which normally ends with "Dona nobis pacem".

  4. The "Christe eleison" (Christ have mercy) is from the Penitential rite; it is in fact the only Greek in the Latin mass.

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last modified: 8 December 2007