Favourite Music Thursday: “O lux beata trinitas”

“O lux beata trinitas” is a Vespers hymn by William Byrd, sung by (among other artists) Anonymous 4 and appears on their album Four Centuries of Chant. For more information about the hymn, click here. The Latin text is followed by an English translation[1] and then an Afrikaans translation[2].


O lux beata trinitas
Et principalis unitas,
Iam sol recedit igneus
Infunde lumen cordibus.

Iam noctis tempus advenit,
Noctem quietam tribue,
Diluculo nos respice,
Salvator unigenite.

Te mane laudum carmine,
Te deprecemur vespere,
Te nostra supplex Gloria
Per cuncta laudet secula.


O light, blessed threeness
And primal oneness:
As the fiery sun sets,
Pour light into our hearts.

Already night approaches:
Grant us a peaceful night.
Watch over us at sunrise,
Our only-begotten savior.

With song we praise you in the morning
We pray to you at sunset:
With our “glory” may the suppliant
Praise you through every age.


O lig, geseënde drie-eenheid
En oorspronklike eenheid:
Soos wat die vlammende son sak,
Stort U lig in ons harte.

Die nag kom reeds nader:
Gun ons ‘n vreedsame nag,
Waak oor ons met die sonopkoms
Ons eniggebore redder.

Ons prys U met gesang in die oggend
Ons bid tot U met die sonsondergang:
Mag die smekelinge met ons lof
U prys in elke era.

[1] Text and translation from Harmonia Mundi USA

[2] I admit I translated it from the English into the Afrikaans – my Latin is really not that good and can almost be called ‘non-existent’.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


    1. Hi,

      Glad you like the song!
      I’m actually Afrikaans. 🙂 I made the translation just for fun (I’m a language practitioner by trade) and decided to include it for my Afrikaans readers.

      Ps. Afrikaans is a Germanic language akin to Dutch and is the third largest language in South Africa.


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