Graduals in Modes 3 & 4

One of the most distinctive features of Graduals in third and fourth modes is the restriction of their liturgical assignment to Pre-Lent, Lent and Passiontide—to which they are precisely proper in spirit. It has been observed that the bitter complaints  voiced in these particular Psalms were placed by early Christians in the mouth of Jesus on his way to the Cross on Good Friday. Some of these graduals are rather lengthy; their melodic idiom tends toward flamboyant and passionate, often rising into a high register. They all show a curiously inconclusive ending on E.

Click on each track below to listen to the chant.

Scroll down to view the original lyrics in Latin and their English translations.

Abbreviated references used here include the following: In the first gradual, ”Ps. 44:3” means that the words “Speciosus . . . tuus” are taken from verse 3 of Psalm 44. ”V. 2 (=1)” means that the words “Eructavit . . . scribendis” are actually the first verse of Ps. 44.

“GT54” gives the page reference to Graduale triplex. ”M17” gives the number of the Mass formulary in Hesbert’s Antiphonale missarum sextuplex.

Click here to read the notes on Graduals in Modes 3 & 4.

Speciosus forma prae filiis hominum: diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis.

V .Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea regi: lingua mea calamus scribae velociter scribentis.
Translation: Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips. My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of things I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Ps. 44:3, V.2 (=1) GT54
First Sunday after Christmas M17
Adiutor in opportunitatibus in tribulatione: sperent in te qui noverunt te: quoniam non derelinquis quaerentes te, Domine.

V. Quoniam non in finem oblivio erit pauperis: patientia pauperum non peribit in aeternum: exsurge Domine non praevaleat homo.
Translation: O helper in good times and bad: they that know thee will hope in thee: for thou will not abandon those who seek thee, 0 Lord. For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever: arise, 0 Lord, let not man prevail!
Ps.9: 10, 11 V. 19, 20 GT69
Septuagesima M34
Third Sunday after Pentecost M175
Tu es Deus qui facis mirabilia solus: notam fecisti in gentibus virtutem tuam.

V. Liberasti in brachio tuo populum tuum filios Israel et loseph.
Translation: Thou are the God that doeth wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the peoples. Thou has freed with thy arm thy people, the sons of Israel and Joseph.
Ps. 76: 15 V.16 GT275
Quinquagesima M36
Exsurge Domine non praevaleat homo: iudicentur gentes in conspectu tuo.

V. In convertendo inimicum meum retrorsum infirmabuntur et peribunt a facie tua.
Translation: Arise, 0 Lord, let not man prevail: let the peoples be judged in thy sight. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
Ps. 9:20 V.4 GT96
Third Sunday in Lent M53
Exsurge Domine fer opera nobis: et libera nos propter nomen tuum.

V. Deus auribus nostris audivimus: patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis opus quod operatus es in diebus eorum in diebus antiquis.
Translation: Arise, 0 Lord, for our help: and redeem us for thy name's sake. 0 God, we have heard with our ears: our fathers have told us what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.
Ps. 43:26 V. 2 (=1) GT114
Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Lent M62
Tibi Domine derelictus est pauper: pupillo to adiutor.

V. Ut quid Domine recessisti longe despicis in opportunitatibus in tribulation? dum superbit impius incenditur pauper.
Translation: To thee, 0 Lord, is left the poor one: of the fatherless thou art the helper. Why standest thou afar off, 0 Lord? Why hidest thou thyself in good times as in bad? while the wicked man is haughty the poor man is hurned.
Ps. 9(10): 14 V.1,2 GT118
Ember Saturday in Lent M66
Eripe me Domine de inimicis meis: doce me facere voluntatem tuam.

V. Liberator meus Domine de gentibus iracundis: ab insurgentibus in me exaltabis me: a viro iniquo eripies me.
Translation: Deliver me, 0 Lord, from mine enemies: teach me to do thy will. My liberator, 0 Lord, from the angry people: thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
Ps. 142: 9, 10 V. Ps. 17: 48, 49 GT121
Fifth Sunday in Lent M67
Sunday 20 after Pentecost M195
Exaltabo te Domine quoniam suscepisti me: nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.

V. Domine Deus meus clamavi ad te et sanasti me: Domine abstraxisti ab inferis animam meam: salvasti me a descendentibus in lacum.
Translation: I will extol thee, O Lord for thou as lifted me up: and hast not preferred my foes over me. 0 Lord, my God I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me: 0 Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast saved me from those that go down into the pit.
Ps. 29: 2 (=1) V. 3, 4 GT112
Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent M70
Tenuisti manum dexteram meam: in voluntate tua deduxisti me: et cum gloria assumpsisti me.

V. Quam bonus Israel Deus rectis corde: mei autem pene moti sunt pedes pene effusi sunt gressus mei: quia zelavi in peccatoribus pacem peccatorum videns.
Translation: Thou hast holden me by my right hand: thou hast led me in thy will, and in glory hast thou taken me up. How good is God to Israel, to those of a clean heart! But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped: for I was envious at the foolish, seeing the ease of sinners.
Ps. 72: 24 V. 1-3 GT133
First Sunday in Lent M40: Blandinensis
Sixth Sunday in Lent M73
Exsurge Domine et intende iudicium meum, Deus meus et Dominus meus in causam meam.

V. Effunde frameam et conclude adversus eos qui me persequuntur.
Translation: Rise up, 0 Lord, and awake to my judgment, my God and my Lord, even unto my cause. Take out the sword and stop them that persecute me.
Ps. 34: 23 V. 3 GT150
Monday in Holy Week M74
Ego autem dum mihi molesti essent induebam me cilicio et humiliabam in ieiunio animam meam: et oratio mea in sinu meo convertetur.

V. Iudica Domine nocentes me expugna impugnantes me: apprehende arma et scutum et exsurge in adiutorium
Translation: But as for me, when they injured me I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting: and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. Judge, O Lord, those that harm me, fight against those that fight against me: take up shield and buckler and rise up in my assistance.
Ps. 34: 13 V. 1-2 GT152
Tuesday in Holy Week M75
Benedicite Dominum omnes angeli eius: potentes virtute qui facitis verbum eius.

V .Benedic anima mea Domino et omnia interiora mea nomen sanctum eius.
Translation: Bless the Lord, ye his angels: that excel in strength, that do his commandments. Bless the Lord 0 my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Ps. 102: 20 V.1 GT608
Dedication of St. Michael's MI57: 29 September
Iuravit Dominus et non paenitebit eum: Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.

V. Dixit Dominus Domino meo: Sede a dextris meis.
Translation: The Lord hath sworn and will not repent: Thou are a priest forever after the order of Melchisedeck. The Lord said unto my Lord: sit thou at my right hand.
Ps. 109: 4 V. 1 GT486
St. Felix M20: 14 January; M3Ibis, M32
St. Clement M166: 23 November
Domine praevenisti eum in benedictionibus dulcedinis: posuisti in capite eius coronam de lapide pretioso.

V. Vitam petiit et tribuisti ei longitudinem dierum in saeculum saeculi.
Translation: O Lord, thou preventest him with the blessings of sweetness: thou hast placed on his head a crown of precious stone. He asked life of thee and thou hast given to him length of days for an age of ages.
Ps. 20: 4 V. 5 GT509
John Ev. 2 M14: 27 December
St. Hadrian M147: 8 September
St. Theodore M163: 9 November
Common of Pontiffs M17 ter