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Dominus tamquam ovis

Antiphon for Maundy Thursday

Dominus tamquam ovis (The Lord as a lamb) is the second antiphon of Lauds on Maundy Thursday.

This antiphon is taken from Acts of the Apostles 8:32, and is followed by Psalm 89.

Dom Guéranger explains:“The second psalm is one of those fixed for the Thursday of each week: it is a prayer suitable for the morning. The psalmist confesses the nothingness of man, and the shortness of his life: he asks God to bless the actions of the day. The faithful must not forget that the Office of Lauds is the morning service, and its being said over night, during these three days, is exceptional.” (1)

Dominus tamquam ovis is here interpreted by The Brothers of the Little Oratory in San Diego, led by John Polhamus.

Listen to Dominus tamquam ovis


Latin text

Ant. Dominus tamquam ovis
Ad victimam ductus est,
Et non aperuit os suum.

Psalm 89.

1. Domine, refugium factus es nobis:
A generatione in generationem.

2. Priusquam montes fierent,
Aut formaretur terra et orbis:
A saeculo et usque in saeculum tu es, Deus.

3. Ne avertas hominem in humilitatem:
Et dixisti: Convertimini filii hominum.

4. Quoniam mille anni ante oculos tuos,
Tamquam dies hesterna quae praeteriit.

5. Et custodia in nocte,
Quae pro nihilo habentur,
Eorum anni erunt.

6. Mane sicut herba transeat,
Mane floreat, et transeat:
Vespere decidat, induret et arescat.

7. Quia defecimus in ira tua,
Et in furore tuo turbati sumus.

8. Posuisti iniquitates nostras in conspectu tuo:
Saeculum nostrum in illuminatione vultus tui.

9. Quoniam omnes dies nostri defecerunt:
Et in ira tua defecimus.

10. Anni nostri sicut aranea meditabuntur:
Dies annorum nostrorum in ipsis, septuaginta anni.

11. Si autem in potentatibus, octoginta anni:
Et amplius eorum, labor et dolor.

12. Quoniam supervenit mansuetudo:
Et corripiemur.

13. Quis novit potestatem irae tuae:
Et prae timore tuo iram tuam dinumerare?

14. Dexteram tuam sic notam fac:
Et eruditos corde in sapientia.

15. Convertere, Domine, usquequo?
Et deprecabilis esto super servos tuos.

16. Repleti sumus mane misericordia tua:
Et exsultavimus, et delectati sumus
Omnibus diebus nostris.

17. Laetati sumus pro diebus, quibus, nos humiliasti:
Annis, quibus vidimus mala.

18. Respice in servos tuos, et in opera tua:
Et dirige filios eorum.

19. Et sit splendor
Domini Dei nostri super nos,
Et opera manuum nostrarum dirige super nos:
Et opus manuum nostrarum dirige.


English translation:

Ant. The Lord, as a lamb
To the slaughterhouse, was led,
And he opened not his mouth.

Psalm 89.

1. Lord, thou hast been our refuge:
From generation to generation.

2. Before the mountains were made,
Or the earth and the world was formed:
From eternity, and to eternity thou art God.

3. Reduce not men to dejection;
And thou hast said: Be converted, sons of men.

4. For a thousand years in thy eyes,
Are as yesterday, which has passed.

5. And as a watch in the night,
As things that are counted as nothing,
So shall their years be.

6. In the morning, he passes like the grass,
In the morning he shall flourish and pass:
In the evening he shall fall, harden, and grow dry.

7. Because we have fainted with thy wrath:
And with thy fury we are troubled.

8. Thou hast set our iniquities before thy sight:
Our century (or life) in the light of thy countenance.

9. For all our days are spent:
And by thy wrath we have fainted away.

10. Our years shall be considered as a spider web:
The days of our life are seventy years in all.

11. But if in the strong they be eighty years,
And the majority of them, labor and sorrow.

12. For mildness is come upon us:
And we shall be corrected.

13. Who knoweth the power of thy anger:
And, from fear of thee, can number thy wrath?

14. Teach us to know thy right hand:
And instruct our heart in wisdom.

15. Return, O Lord, how long [wilt thou be wrathful]?
And be persuaded in favor of thy servants.

16. We are filled in the morning with thy mercy:
And we are rejoiced and are delighted
All our days.

17. We have rejoiced for the days in which thou hast humbled us:
For the years in which we have seen evils.

18. Look upon thy servants and upon their works:
And direct their children.

19. And let the brightness
Of the Lord our God be upon us,
And direct thou the works of our hands over us:
The work of our hands do thou direct.


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Dominus tamquam ovis chant

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  1. Dom Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000, vol. 6, p. 338.

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