Salve Regina Latin Text and English Translation

The longstanding hymn is used in many religious services

The well-known Salve Regina prayer to the Virgin Mary is traditionally sung within the Catholic Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, but throughout musical history, it has been used in many classical settings, including the unforgettable finale of Francis Poulenc’s second opera, Dialogue des carmelites.

History of the Salve Regina

Although some historians believe this piece of music was composed by 11th-century monk Hermann of Reichenau, most musicologists treat the Salve Regina as an anonymous work.

It's usually sung in Latin, and sometimes is spoken as a prayer. 

Its most-often performed version is one that was used in the 12th century at the Abbey Cluney. It became part of the blessing said for ships about to head out to sea, making it a favorite of sailors. Salve Regina was used in a variety of liturgical purposes, including as a processional hymn and as an end-of-day song. 

In addition, the Salve Regina is included in funeral Masses for priests, usually sung at the end of the ceremony by other priests attending the service.

What's especially interesting about this prayer is that numerous composers have set it to music over the centuries. Vivaldi, Handel and Schubert have all written their own versions of a Salve Regina hymn. 

It's been translated from its original Latin into numerous languages over the centuries. 

Latin Text of the Salve Regina

Regina, mater misericordiae:
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.


Ad te clamamus, exsules, filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, Advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos
ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens: O pia: O dulcis
Virgo Maria.

English Translation of the Salve Regina

Queen, mother of mercy:
our life, sweetness, and hope, hail.


To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To you we sigh, mourning and weeping
in this valley of tears.
Turn then, our advocate,
those merciful eyes
toward us.
And Jesus, the blessed fruit of thy womb,
after our exile, show us.
O clement, O loving, O sweet
Virgin Mary.