The poem is a meditation on the Catholic belief in Jesus's real presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and ties it to the Catholic conception of the redemptive meaning of suffering in the life of all believers.
Hail, true Body, born
Musical settings include Mozart's motet Ave verum corpus (K. 618), as well as settings by William Byrd and Sir Edward Elgar. Not all composers set the whole text. For example, Mozart's setting finishes with "in mortis examine", Elgar's with "fili Mariae". There is a version by Franz Liszt [Searle 44], and also ones by Camille Saint-Saëns, Orlande de Lassus, Imant Raminsh,Alexandre Guilmant, Colin Mawby, Malcolm Archer and Jack Gibbons. Liszt also composed a fantasy on Mozart's work, preceded by a version of Allegri's celebrated Miserere, under the title À la Chapelle Sixtine [Searle 461 - two versions]. Versions of this fantasy for orchestra [Searle 360] and piano four-hands [Searle 633] follow closely the second version for piano. There is also a version for organ [Searle 658] with the title Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine. The text is even used in an opera, Francis Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites (there is also "Ave verum corpus", a separate work by Poulenc dated 1952). Mozart's version, with instruments only, was adapted by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as one of the sections of his Mozartiana, a tribute to Mozart. From the 21st century there is a setting by the Swedish composer Fredrik Sixten.