Lamentations of Jeremiah

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Instrumental Only?

SATB Choir a cappella.  Contemporary-English-language setting of the traditional three lessons from the first Nocturn of the service of Tenebrae: Lamentations 1:1-14. The music is chant-based (plainsong melody in the top voice); quite haunting, solemn, and beautiful.


Lesson 1

Here begin the lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet:
How solitary lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations!
She that was a Queen among the Cities has now become a vassal.
She weeps bitterly in the night, tears run down her cheeks;
Among all her lovers, she has no one to comfort her;
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
They have become her enemies.
Judah has gone into the misery of exile and of hard servitude,
She dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place;
All her pursuers overtook her in the midst of her anguish.
The roads to Zion mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts;
All her gates are desolate, her priests groan and sigh;
Her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.
Her adversaries have become her masters,
Her enemies prosper,
Because the Lord has punished her for the multitude of her rebellions;
Her children are gone, driven away as captives by the enemy.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God.

Lesson 2

And from daughter Zion all her majesty has departed;
Her princes have become like stags that can find no pasture
And that run without strength before the hunter.
Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and her bitterness
All the precious things that were hers from the days of old
When her people fell into the hands of the foe, and there was none to help her;
And the adversary saw her and mocked at her downfall.
Jerusalem has sinned greatly, therefore has she become a thing unclean;
All who honored her now despise her, for they have seen her nakedness;
And now she sighs and turns her face away.
Uncleanness clung to her skirts, she took no thought of doom;
Therefore her fall is terrible, she has no comforter;
“Behold, O Lord, my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God.

Lesson 3

The adversary has stretched out his hand to seize all her precious things;
She has seen the Gentiles invade her sanctuary;
Those whom you had forbidden to enter your congregation.
All her people groan as they search for food;
They sell their children for food to revive their strength.
“Behold, O Lord, and consider, for I am now beneath contempt.”
Is it nothing to you, all who pass by?
Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
Which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his burning anger.
From on high he sent fire, into my bones it descended,
He spread a net for my feet, and turned me back;
He has left me desolate and faint all the day long.
My transgressions were bound into a yoke;
By his hand they were fastened together;
Their yoke is upon my neck; he has caused my strength to fail.
The Lord has delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand up.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God.