"Quomodo sedet sola civitas"
Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt
Public DomainJeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem - Credit: Rembrandt

Quomodo sedet sola civitas is the Latin version of the opening lines of the Bible's Book of Lamentations, attributed to the prophet Jeremiah.


The full text of Chapter 1, Verse 1, reads as follows:                                                           


Quomodo sedet sola civitas                      How doth the city sit solitary,

plena populo                                               that was full of  people!

facta est quasi vidua                                 how is she become as a widow!

domina gentium                                         she that was great among the nations

princeps provinciarum                              and princess among the provinces,

facta est sub tributo                                   how is she become tributary


The event being lamented is the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC, after its conquest by Nebuchadnezzer. Readings, chantings, and choral settings of the work have been incorporated into the Tenebrae services which take place during the Holy Triduum, the three days of Holy Week that precede Easter.


Listen to the words of the Lamentations in the form of Gregorian chant:




Listen on Spotify: The Kings Singers