May 29, 2013

Tantum Ergo / Down in Adoration Falling

Lo! the Sacred Host We Hail

Tantum Ergo was written by St. Thomas Aquinas. The words are taken from the final verses of the Vesper Hymn, Pange Lingua of the Office for Feast of Corpus Christi that Aquinas wrote in 1264 at the request of Pope Urban IV. Despite it's origins as part of the Divine Office, Tantum Ergo is more closely associated with it's prescribed use in the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. In the 19th century it was translated by Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) as Down in Adoration Falling (2nd video) which is traditionally sung to a tune from Cantus Diversi by John Francis Wade (1711-1786). In recent years a longer version of this translation was given a contemporary arrangement by the popular Catholic recording artist: Matt Maher (see 3rd video).

Gregorian (Singing starts at 1:05)

TANTUM ERGO SACRAMENTUM by Thomas Aquinas, 1264 (Public Domain)

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
rocedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio. Amen.

Tune by John Francis Wade

DOWN IN ADORATION FALLING - Translation by Edward Caswall (Public Domain)

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty. Amen.

Additional words and music by Matt Maher


  1. Your Gregorian Chant setting of Tantum Ergo has the music for the Mode I chant printed, but the singer sings the Mode III version of the chant.

  2. Thank you for noticing that. I have replaced that video with one by the always reliable: Giorgio Vianini of


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