Pie Jesu

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"Pie Jesu" (/ˈp. ˈj.z, -s/ PEE-ay-YAY-zu; original Latin: "Pie Iesu" /ˈpi.e ˈje.su/) is a text from the final couplet of the hymn "Dies irae", and is often included in musical settings of the Requiem Mass as a motet. The phrase means "pious Jesus" in the vocative.

Popular settings[edit]

The settings of the Requiem Mass by Luigi Cherubini, Antonin Dvořák, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Duruflé, John Rutter, Karl Jenkins, Kim André Arnesen and Fredrik Sixten include a "Pie Jesu" as an independent movement. Decidedly, the best known is the "Pie Jesu" from Fauré's Requiem. Camille Saint-Saëns, who died in 1921, said of Fauré's "Pie Jesu": "Just as Mozart's is the only 'Ave verum corpus', this is the only 'Pie Jesu'."[1]

Andrew Lloyd Webber's setting of "Pie Jesu" in his Requiem (1985) has also become well known and has been widely recorded, including by Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, Jackie Evancho, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Marie Osmond, Anna Netrebko, and others. Performed by Sarah Brightman and Paul Miles-Kingston, it was a certified Silver hit in the UK in 1985.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The couplet is chanted by a group of flagellant monks as a running gag during the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.[3][non-primary sources needed]


The original text, derived from the "Dies irae" sequence, is as follows:[a]

Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. (×2)

Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Pious Lord Jesus,
Give them rest.

Pious Lord Jesus,
Give them everlasting rest.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem text[edit]

Andrew Lloyd Webber, in his Requiem, combined the text of the "Pie Jesu" with the version of the "Agnus Dei" from the Tridentine Requiem Mass:

Pie Jesu, (×4)
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona eis requiem. (×2)

Agnus Dei, (×4)
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Dona eis requiem, (×2)
Sempiternam (×2)

Pious Jesus,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest.

Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest,

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Pie is the vocative of the word pius ("pious", "dutiful to one's parent or God").[4] "Jesu" (Iesu in Latin) is the vocative of Jesus/Iesus.[5] Requiem is the accusative of requies ("rest"), sometimes mistranslated as "peace", although that would be pacem, as in Dona nobis pacem ("Give us peace").


  1. ^ Steinberg, Michael. "Gabriel Fauré: Requiem, Op. 48." Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, 131–137.
  2. ^ "British certifications – Sarah Brightman & Paul Miles-Kingston – Pie Jesu". British Phonographic Industry.Type Pie Jesu in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  3. ^ Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Animated interlude on YouTube; Monty Python and the Holy Grail Monks (with subtitles) on YouTube; Monty Python – Holy Hand Grenade (with subtitles) on YouTube. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  4. ^ Champlin, John Denison. The New Champlin Cyclopedia for Young Folks. Holt, 1924, p. 403
  5. ^ White, William. Notes and Queries. Oxford University Press, 1904, p. 490. "In Greek, which did not possess the sound sh, but substituted s, and rejected the Semitic evanescent gutturals, Yēshū(ā) became Yēsū' (Ἰησοῦ), in the nominative case Yēsū'∙s (Ἰησοῦς). In Latin these were written in Roman letters Iesu, nominative Iesu∙s. In Old French this became in the nominative case Jésus; in the regimen or oblique case Jésu. Middle English adopted the stem-form Jesu, the regular form of the name down to the time of the Renascence. It then became the fashion to restore the Latin ∙s of the nominative case, Jesu∙s, and to use the nominative form also for the objective and oblique cases, just as we do in Charle∙s, Jame∙s, Juliu∙s, and Thoma∙s. Very generally, however, the vocative remained Jesu, as in Latin and in Middle English, and this is still usual in hymns."

External links[edit]