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Absalon, fili mi

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General Information

This is the complaint of King David when he receives the news of the death of his beloved son, Absalom. The story can be found in the second book of Samuel, chapter 18. The complaint itself is verse 33. From the 15th - 17th century this text was a quite popular text for composers to write a 'lamento'

Settings by composers

See When David heard for settings of the equivalent text in English.
See David's lamentation for an alternative English setting.
See Lugebat David Absalon for a related Latin setting.

Text and translations

version 1

Latin.png Latin text

Absalon fili mi,
quis det ut moriar pro te, Absalon?
Non vivam ultra,
sed descendam in infernum plorans.

English.png English translation

Absalon my son,
if only I had died instead of you, Absalon!
I shall live no more,
but go down to hell, weeping.
Translation by Mick Swithinbank

Dutch.png Dutch translation

Absalom mijn zoon,
was ik maar in jouw plaats gestorven, Absalom!
Ik zal niet meer leven,
maar afdalen naar het dodenrijk, huilend.

version 2

Latin.png Latin text

fili mi Absalom fili mi Absalom
Quis mihi tribuat ut ego moriar pro te
Absalom fili mi fili mi (Vulgate)

English.png English translation

O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!
would God I had died for thee,
O Absalom, my son, my son!

Dutch.png Dutch translation

Mijn zoon Absalom, mijn zoon, mijn zoon Absalom!
Och, dat ik in uw plaats gestorven ware,
Absalom, mijn zoon, mijn zoon!

German.png German translation

Mein Sohn Absalom! Mein Sohn, mein Sohn Absalom!
Wollte Gott, ich wäre für dich gestorben!
O Absalom, mein Sohn, mein Sohn!

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