Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
(c.1525 - 1594)

Palestrina : Susanna ab improbis senibus : illustration

Susanna ab improbis senibus
(S.S.A.T.T.B. (or A.A.T.T.B.B.))
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This work, Palestrina : Susanna ab improbis senibus : scoreid 146408, as published by notAmos Performing Editions, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All relevant attributions should state its URL as Permissions beyond the scope of this licence may be available at
Palestrina's setting of the story of Susannah and the elders. This edition is offered at original pitch (high chiavette) for S.S.A.T.T.B. or transposed down a fourth for A.A.T.T.B.B.
Lyrics: Based on the book of Daniel

Susanna ab improbis senibus obsessam se videns,
qui forma ejus capti eam, nisi sibi obsequeretur
adulterii se accusaturos minitabantur,
ingenuit et ait: Angustiae mihi sunt undique, si enim hoc egero, mors mihi est
Si autem non egero non effugiam manus vestras, sed melius est mihi
absque opere incidere in manus vestras. quam peccare in conspectu Domini.
Postquam autem falso eorum testimonio damnata est,
cum innocentiae suae paratum sibi supplicium videret,
exclamavit et dixit:
Deus aeterne, qui absconditorum es cognitor,
tu scis quoniam falsum testimonium tulerunt contra me,
et ecce morior cum nihil horum fecerim
quae isti malitiose composuerunt adversum me.
Exaudivit autem Dominus vocem ejus
et salvatus est sanguis innoxius in die illa.

Susanna, seeing herself beset by the wicked elders,
and a captive unless she admitted to the charges
of adultery with which they threatened her,
sighed, and said:
I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death to me:
and if I do it not, I shall not escape your hands.
But it is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
And when she was found guilty by their false witness
and, in her innocence, saw punishment being prepared,
she exclaimed, and said:
O eternal God, who knowest hidden things,
Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me:
and behold I must die, whereas I have done none of these things,
which these men have maliciously forged against me.
And the Lord heard her voice
And bloodshed was spared on that day.