Da pacem, Domine. [For peace.] An antiphon of the 6th or 7th century, founded on ii. Kings xx. 19; ii. Chron. xx. 12, 15; and Psalms cxxii. 6. By a Bull of Pope Nicholas III., 1279, it was ordered to be sung at every mass before the Agnus Dei. In the Paris Breviary of 1643 it is given along with a Collect for Peace, which occurs in the Sacramentary of Gelasius, A.D. 494, as a Commemoratio de Pace per Annum. Ad Laudes et Vesperas, thus:—
"Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris, quia non est alius qui pugnet pro nobis, nisi tu Deus noster. V. Fiat pax in yirtute tua. E. Et abundantia in turribus tuis. Oratio. Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et justa aunt opera: da servis tuis illam, quam nuindus dare non potest, pacem: ut et corda nostra inandatis tuis dedita, et hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. Per Dominum," &c. (Pars Hiemalis, 1657, p. 159.)
The same text is given in the Sarum Breviary (Cambridge Press Reprint, 1882, of the Paris ed., 1531, col. 11), and in the York Breviary of 1493 (Surtees Society's Reprint, 1880, i. col. 942). A translation in full is given in the Evening Service of the Church of England…
The other translations are from two German versions, the earlier being:—
1. Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich, given to it by Martin Luther, first in prose in 1527 (Koch, viii. 159), and then in metrical form in Klug's Gesang-Buch, 1529. Wackernagel, iii. p. 21, quotes it from the Geistliche Lieder, Wittenberg, 1531; and also gives a form in 4 stanzas of 5 lines, published at Augsburg in 1532, stanzas ii.-iv. being founded on the prose collect. In many districts of Germany, Luther's stanza was sung immediately after sermon, either separately or with the hymn, "Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort," (q.v.). In Schircks's edition of Luther's Geistliche Lieder , 1854, p. 43, a second stanza in 5 lines, founded on 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, and on the latter part of the prose collect, beginning, "Gieb unserm Fürsten und aller Obrigkeit," is added; first published in Das Christlich Kinderlied Dr Martini Lutheri Erhalt uns Herr, &c, Wittenberg, 1566, edition by Johann Walther, and thence in Mutzell, No. 556, and added to Luther's stanza, as No. 981, in the Berlin Geistliched Lieder, edition 1863.
The translations from Luther are: (1) “Lord, in Thy mercy and Thy grace," by Miss Fry, 1845, p. 137; (2) "Lord! in mercy grant us peace," by J. Anderson, 1846, p. 65 (1847, p. 79); (3) "We Thee beseech, with one accord," by Dr. J. Hunt, 1853, p. 93; (4) "In these our days so perilous," by R. Massie, 1854, p. 68, included in Dr. Bacon, 1884, p. 54; (5) Jehovah, grant us peace through all," by Dr. G. Walker, 1860, p. 39; (6) "Peace in our time, Lord God, bestow." by Dr. G. Macdonald in the Sunday Magazine, 1867, p. 682, and thence in his Exotics, 1876, p. 97, altered to "Peace to us in Thy mercy grant."
2. Gieb Fried zu unser Zeit, 0 Herr, A very free version in 3 stanzas of 10 lines, by Wolfgang Capito. Wackernagel, iii. p. 731, quotes it from the Form und Ordnung Gaystlicher Gesang und Psalmen, Augsburg, 1533 (where the order of stanzas is ii., i., iii.; and the Strassburg Gesang-Buch, 1533. Mützell, No. 153, quotes the text from the Gros Kirchen Gesang-Buch, Strassburg, 1560, where it is entitled “A hymn of supplication for peace and whole-hearted returning to God, with confession that we have justly merited our unrest by our sin and declension from God." It appeared in many of the German hymn-books up to the middle of the 18th century, but since then has fallen out of use. The only translation in common use is:—
Geue peace in these our dayes, 0 Lord. A full and close translation in the 1560-61 Psalmes of David. In Daye's Psalter, 1565, and many later editions of the Old Version, it is signed E. G. These initials almost certainly denote Edmund Grindal, afterwards Abp. of Canterbury (1575-1583), who lived at Strassburg during the Marian Exile, and is known to have acquired a sufficient knowledge of German to have enabled him to take office in the German Church. It is included in a few hymnals of this century, e.g. in J. Bickersteth's Psalms and Hymns, edition 1832, No. 504, rewritten to 4 stanzas of L.M., and repeated in this form in E. Bickersteth's Christian Psalmody, 1833, Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory., 1872, &c. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)