Ave Maria

The Ave Maria was composed in about 1825 by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) when he was twenty-eight years old and filled with devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was written for voice and piano and first Published in 1826 as Op 52 no 6. The words most commonly used with Schubert's music are not the words that the composer originally set to music.

Franz Schubert actually wrote the music for an excerpt from the poem "The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), which was translated into German by Adam Storck. Schubert called his piece Ellens dritter Gesang (Ellen's third song).

Christmas Carols Index

In this particular excerpt from the poem the heroine, Ellen Douglas, is in hiding and prays to the Virgin Mary. A letter from Schubert to his father and step-mother refers to his music to Ave Maria:  

"My new songs from Scott's Lady of the Lake especially had much success. They also wondered greatly at my piety, which I expressed in a hymn to the Holy Virgin and which, it appears, grips every soul and turns it to devotion."

The original words by Sir Walter Scott are detailed below and include many references to the Latin "Ave Maria" prayer. This, no doubt, inspired an unknown person to fit the Latin "Ave Maria" prayer text to Schubert's notes, and it almost succeeds with a couple of exceptions. The adapted Latin words of Ave Maria prayer ( Hail Mary ) is now the version most commonly performed with the music of Schubert.

Franz Schubert - Concise Biography
Date of Birth: 31 January 1797
Place of Birth : Lichtental, Austria
Date of Death: 19 November 1828 - Age 31
Place & cause of Death: Vienna, Austria - Typhus

Ave Maria Prayer : The Latin text of the Ave Maria prayer
set to the music by Franz Schubert

Ave Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum

Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui Jesus

Ave Maria
Ave Maria Mater dei
Ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis pecatoribus

Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, mortis nostrae
In hora mortis nostrae
Ave Maria!


Ave Maria Prayer : The Latin text of the Ave Maria prayer
set to the music by Franz Schubert



Ave Maria
German translation by Adam Storck from
"The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott


Ave Maria! Ave Maria! maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden's prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish'd, outcast and reviled -
Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share
Shall seem this down of eider piled,
If thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern's heavy air
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;
Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
Mother, list a suppliant child!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! stainless styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care,
Beneath thy guidance reconciled;
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer,
And for a father hear a child!
Ave Maria!


Ave Maria
German translation by Adam Storck from
"The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott

Ave Maria

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