Byrd's Vide Domine has rightly been described as 'the…most intense of the 'Jerusalem' motets' - meaning that group of motets with texts referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and/or the Exile, with which Byrd expressed his feelings about the loss of the Catholic church, and the 'internal exile' of the Catholics in England. To this immediate group also belong Ne irascaris Domine and Tribulationes civitatum, while the extraordinary Unam petii and Plorans plorabit in the Gradualia clearly share their subject material and their sentiments.
Vide Domine is a non-liturgical text also set by other composers - including Clemens, and Jean Lafage (also published in Edition Michael Procter).
Behold, O Lord, our affliction and forsake us not in time of adversity. More than Jerusalem, the chosen city, was made desolate: the joy of our heart is turned into grief, and our rejoicing into bitterness.
(2. Pars) But come, O Lord, and tarry not, and recall the exiles into thy city. O Lord, O Peace most holy, give us thy peace long-desired, and have mercy upon thy sighing, weeping people, O Lord our God.