The Magnificat

The Song of Mary, the Precious Mother of God, Luke 1:46–55.

Luther’s Preface

In the first place, she sings with joyful heart of the grace and benefits that the merciful God has shown to her in her own person, for which she thanks and praises Him.

In the second place, she sings of the benefits and great wonders that God without ceasing constantly performs for all men in the whole world, namely, that He shows mercy to the fearful and wretched. The lowly He lifts up, and the poor He makes rich.

Again, that He brings to naught the wisdom of the proud and haughty, puts down from their seats the great Hanses, who rely on their own power and might, and makes the rich into beggars.

In the third place, she sings of the particular and highest work, namely, that God hath visited and redeemed Israel through His only Son, Jesus Christ, etc.


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In the Lutheran tradition, the Magnificat, when used in the vernacular, is sung to the Tonus Peregrinus, the ninth selection in the Psalm Player, in which case it may be sung under the following Antiphon:

Ant. Christ the Lord, our Savior, everlasting God and Mary’s Son, we praise Thee evermore.


My soul doth | mag- ( nify ) the Lord,*
47and my spirit hath rejoicèd in | God, my ( Sav- ) ior.


For He hath regarded the low estate | of ( His hand- ) maiden:*
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall | call me ( bless- ) èd.


For He that is mighty hath | done ( to me ) great things,*
and | holy ( is His ) name.


And His mercy is on | them ( that ) fear Him*
from generation to | gener- ( a- ) tion.


He hath showed | strength ( with ) His arm;*
He hath scatterèd the proud in the imagi- | nation ( of their ) hearts.


He hath put down the | might- ( y from ) their seats,*
and exalted | them of ( low de- ) gree.


He hath filled the | hun- ( gry with ) good things,*
and the rich He hath sent | empty ( a- ) way.


He hath holpen His | ser- ( vant Is- ) raèl,*
in remembrance | of His ( mer- ) cy,


as He spake | to ( our ) fathers,*
to Abraham, and to his | seed for- ( ev- ) er.

Glory be to the Father, | and ( to ) the Son,*
and to the | Holy ( Spir- ) it;
as it was in the beginning, both | now ( and ) ever,*
and unto ages of | ages. ( A- ) men.

Christ the Lord, our Savior, everlasting God and Mary’s Son, we praise Thee evermore. Amen.

Back to the Psalter

The Magnificat is sung daily as the Evangelical Canticle at Vespers.

Luther’s German version of the Magnificat is available in scans of Josef Klug’s Geistliche Lieder, both 1535 and 1545 (p. 179v).