A Poor Brother's Hymnal
Monday, December 31, 2007
  Let all together praise our God
Let all together praise our God
Upon His lofty throne;
For He uncloses heav'n today
And gives to us His Son.

He lays aside His majesty
And seems as nothing worth,
And takes on Him a servant's form,
who made the heav'n and earth.

Behold the wonderful exchange
Our Lord with us doth make!
Lo, He assumes our flesh and blood,
And we of heav'n partake.

The glorious gates of paradise
The Angel guards no more;
This day again those gates unfold.
With praise our God adore!

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Friday, December 28, 2007
  Epiphany Hymn

Lift up your eyes, whoe'er ye be
That fare the new-born Christ to see:
For yonder is the shining sign
Of grace perennial and divine.

What means this star, whose piercing rays 5
Outshine the sun's resplendent blaze?
'Tis token sure that God is come
In mortal flesh to make His home.

No courtier of the realms of night
Nor monthly moon's bright acolyte, 10
This star directs the course of day,
Sole sovereign of the heavenly way.

Although the Bears their track retrace,
Nor wholly their clear beams efface,
Yet ofttimes 'neath the dun cloud's haze 15
They hide themselves from mortal gaze.

But yon Star's glory hath no end,
Nor to the depths can it descend:
It ne'er is whelmed by envious cloud
That seeks its beauty to enshroud. 20

Now let the baleful comet die,
The brood of blazing Sirius fly:
God's orb shall quench their sultry heats
And drive them from their haughty seats.

Lo! from the regions of the morn 25
Wherein the radiant sun is born,
The Persian sages see on high
God's ensign shining in the sky.

Soon as its rising beams prevail
The starry hosts in order pale: 30
E'en Lucifer durst not upraise
The silvery splendours of his face.

Who is this sovereign (they enquire)
That lords it o'er the ethereal choir?
'Fore whom the heavens bow down afraid, 35
Of all the worlds of light obeyed?

Sure 'tis the sign most reverend
Of Being that doth know no end:
Of One in state sublime arrayed
Ere sky and chaos yet were made. 40

This is the King of Israel,
Of all in Gentile lands that dwell:
The King to Abram and his seed
Throughout all ages erst decreed.

To him 'twas given his progeny 45
As stars innumerous to see:
First of believers! moved to slay
His only son, so God to obey.

Behold the Flower of David shine,
Of Jesse's root the Branch benign: 50
The sceptre spread with blossoms rare
Wields o'er the world its lordship fair.

Roused by the portent of the sky
The sages fix their gaze on high,
And speed them 'neath the furrowed way 55
Marked by the star's effulgent ray.

At length its flaming steps it stayed
Poised over where the Child was laid:
Straightway with downcast mien it shed
Its splendours on the sacred Head. 60

Whereat the travellers outpour
Of Eastern gifts their treasure-store,
Myrrh and sweet-smelling frankincense,
Gold meet for regal opulence.

Behold herein the triple sign 65
Of Thy pure being, King divine:
Seeing the Father willed in Thee
To plant a threefold majesty.

The gift of gold thee King proclaims:
Thee God the fragrant incense names: 70
The myrrh declares that Death shall thrust
Within the tomb Thy body's dust.

Ah! that dark sepulchre, whose fold
God's body quenched in death doth hold:
Yet shall He from that durance wake 75
And Death's strong prison-fetters break.

O Bethlehem! no longer thou
The least of cities: all shall vow
That thou art greatest on the earth:
For thou man's King didst bring to birth. 80

Yea thou didst on thy bosom bear
The All-loving Father's only heir:
Man of the Thunderer's Spirit made
And God in human flesh arrayed.

The prophets witnessed to the bond 85
Which sealed to Him the realm profound:
The Father's Kingdom He received
And the vast legacy perceived.

All things are His in sea and sky,
In hell beneath, in heaven on high: 90
From East to setting sun, in fee
He holds the earth's immensity.

Distraught, the tyrant base doth hear
That now the King of Kings draws near
To reign in David's seat of state 95
And Israel's empire dominate.

"Betrayed are we," he maddened cries,
"Our throne's usurper doth arise:
Go, soldiers, go with sword in hand
And slay all babes within my land. 100

"Spare no male child: each nurse's robe
Your scrutinizing steel must probe:
Spare not the suckling infant, though
O'er mother's breast its life-blood flow.

"On Bethlehem our suspicion falls, 105
On every hearth within its walls:
Lest mothers with love's tender zeal
Some manly scion may conceal."

With daggers drawn the infuriate crew
Upon their murderous errand flew: 110
Each latest offspring of the womb
To bloody death they foully doom.

Ah tiny limbs! 'twas hard to know
How best to strike the fatal blow:
Too wide the sword-blades are to smite 115
Those throats so silken-fragile, slight.

O horrid sight! the tender bones
Are dashed against the jagged stones:
Sightless and mangled there they lie,
Poor babes! untimely doomed to die. 120

Perchance the still deep river laves
Their bodies thrust into the waves:
The current with their sighing sighs,
Sobs with their latest, broken cries.

Ye flowers of martyrdom, all hail! 125
Of rising morn pure blossoms frail!
By Jesu's foe were ye downcast,
Like budding roses by the blast.

Lambs of the flock too early slain,
Ye first fruits of Christ's bitter pain! 130
Close to His very altar, gay
With palms and crowns, ye now do play.

Of what avail is deed so vile?
Doth Herod gain by murderous guile?
Of all to death so foully done 135
Escapes triumphant Christ alone.

Amidst that tide of infant gore
Alone He wins the sheltering shore:
The virgin's Child survives the stroke,
When every mother's heart was broke. 140

Thus Moses 'scaped the mad decree
Of evil Pharaoh and set free
The flock of God, prefiguring so
Christ spared from fate's malignant blow.

Vain too the king's hostility 145
Who framed the pitiless decree
That Israel's mothers should not rear
To manhood's strength their offspring dear.

Quickened by love, a woman's mind
Found means to thwart that law unkind, 150
And, falsely true, the child concealed
Destined to be his people's Shield.

On him it was that God did place
The august priesthood's holy grace,
The law on stony tablets writ 155
Did to his trembling hands commit.

And may we not with prophet's eye
In such a hero Christ descry?
The proud Egyptian's might he broke
And freed his kinsmen from the yoke. 160

So we by Error's might hemmed round
Were by our Captain's strength unbound:
His foe He wounded in the fight
And saved us from Death's horrid night.

Cheering by sign of flame their feet, 165
Moses renewed with waters sweet
His folk, albeit purified
From stain, what time they crossed the tide.

And he, remote on peaceful height,
Amalek's banded hosts did smite: 170
He prayed with arms stretched out above,
Foreshadowing the Cross of Love.

Yet truer Jesus surely he,
Who after many a victory
And labours long the tribes' renown 175
With promised heritage did crown;

Who when the waters rose on high
And now the Jordan's bed was dry,
Set up twelve stones of memory,
Types of apostles yet to be. 180

Rightly the Wise Men said, I ween,
That they Judaea's King had seen,
Since noble deeds of other days
Prophetic chant the Saviour's praise.

Of those old rulers He is King 185
Who did to Jacob judgment bring,
King of the Mother Church divine,
God's ancient and God's present Shrine.

Of Ephraim's sons He is adored:
Manasseh's sacred house as Lord 190
Reveres Him: to His might the seed
Of brethren twelve their fealty plead.

Nay, each degenerate race hath fled
Its shameful rites and orgies dread:
Grim Baal in glowing furnace cast 195
Sinks to the earth, forsook at last.

Idols smoke-blackened, wooden-hewn,
Of brass and stone, in dust are strewn:
The chiselled deities downtrod:
For all confess in Christ their God. 200

Rejoice all peoples, Jewry, Rome,
Fair Hellas, Thrace, Aegyptus' home:
Persians and Scythian land forlorn,
Rejoice: the world's great King is born!

Behold your Chief! His praise forth tell: 205
Ye sick, ye hale, all heaven and hell:
Ay, you whose vital spark hath sped:
For lo! in Him e'en Death is dead.

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  Holy Innocents

Source: The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904), page 159

THEY scarcely waked before they slept,
They scarcely wept before they laughed;
They drank indeed death's bitter draught,
But all its bitterest dregs were kept
And drained by Mothers while they wept.

From Heaven the speechless Infants speak:
Weep not (they say), our Mothers dear,
For swords nor sorrows come not here.
Now we are strong who were so weak,
And all is ours we could not seek.

We bloom among the blooming flowers,
We sing among the singing birds;
Wisdom we have who wanted words:
here morning knows not evening hours,
All's rainbow here without the showers.

And softer than our Mother's breast,
And closer than our Mother's arm,
Is here the Love that keeps us warm
And broods above our happy next.
Dear Mothers, come: for Heaven is best.

Circa 1877

Unspotted lambs to follow the one Lamb,
Unspotted doves to wait on the one Dove;
To whom Love saith, 'Be with Me where I am,'
And lo their answer unto Love is love.

For tho' I know not any note they know,
Nor know one word of all their song above,
I know Love speaks to them, and even so
I know the answer unto Love is love.

Before 1893

Note: Clearly two poems about the Holy Innocents, but without a separating title. The feast day of the Holy Innocents is December 28.

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  With Terror Doth The Tyrant Hear

With Terror Doth The Tyrant Hear

Words: Audit tyrannus anxius, Cathemerinon ("The Hymns of Prudentius"), Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-405)

1. With terror doth the tyrant hear
the King of kings hath come to dwell
where David's court shall widely rear
A sceptered reign o'er Israel.

2. Then cries out, raging at the word:
"He comes to stand where we have stood:
Hence, soldier, and with ruthless sword
deluge the cradles deep with blood!"

3. What profiteth a crime so dread?
What hope shall Herod's bosom sway?
Alone amidst the thronging dead,
The Christ is safely born away!


This is one of four Epiphany hymns derived from Prudentius' (384-413) Hymnus Epiphaniae (Hymn For The Epiphany), which is 52 stanzas long. Two of these hymns, Audit tyrannus anxius and Salvete, flores Martyrum (All Hail Ye Infant Martyr Flowers), were assigned for the feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec 28).

The following is the R. Martin Pope translation of the stanzas of Audit tyrannus anxius, and its Latin equivalent:

Distraught, the tyrant base doth hear
That now the King of Kings draws near
To reign in David's seat of state
And Israel's empire dominate.

"Betrayed are we," he maddened cries,
"Our throne's usurper doth arise:
Go, soldiers, go with sword in hand
And slay all babes within my land.

Of what avail is deed so vile?
Doth Herod gain by murderous guile?
Of all to death so foully done
Escapes triumphant Christ alone.

Audit tyrannus anxius
adesse regum principem,
qui nomen Israel regat
teneatque David regiam.

Exclamat amens nuntio,
successor instat, pellimur;
satelles i, ferrum rape,
perfunde cunas sanguine.

Quid proficit tantum nefas,
quid crimen Herodem iuvat?
unus tot inter funera
inpune Christus tollitur.

Hymnus Epiphaniae is from the longer Cathemerinon (The Hymns of Prudentius, translated by R. Martin Pope, 1905). The feast day of the Holy Innocents is December 28; see: The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents.

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  The Winter Sun Was Setting

1. The winter sun was setting,
The shades of eve were nigh,
When loving Jewish mothers
Thus sang their lullaby:
O rest thee, gentle baby!
The night stars peep;
Hush! little birds are silent;
Sleep! dear one, sleep!

2. The darksome night had fallen;
There came a ruthless band;
Each babe on mother's bosom
Was slain by murderous hand.
Long rest thee, ransomed baby
In slumber deep!
Within the Arms Eternal
Sleep! dear one, sleep!

3. The morning sun was rising,
Each mother's heart was torn,
As o'er her slaughtered infant
She wailed with grief forlorn:
God rest thee, murdered baby!
His blessing keep
Both babe and mourning mother!
Sleep! dear one, sleep!

4. Again the night has fallen;
There came a vision bright;
The babes the Lamb all radiant
Followed in robes of white.
Joy for my martyr baby!
No more I weep.
Till Christ shall bid thee follow;
Sleep! dear one, sleep!

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  When Herod in Jerusalem

1. When Herod in Jerusalem
Did reign in princely throne,
Strange tidings then were brought to him
Of a King lately born;
The which did much torment his mind,
So strange a thing should be,
That then amongst the Jews should reign
A greater King than he.

O cruel Herod, hard of heart,
Accursed mayst thou be,
Thou slewest so many Innocents,
That never harmed thee.

That he might the young King prevent,
Most wickedly he will'd,
The children small of two years old
Should certainly be kill'd.
Then did the Lord an Angel send
To Joseph where he lay,
And bad him into Egypt fly,
To bear the Child away. Chorus.

3. Then men appointed when abroad
Young Infants' blood to apill,
Supposing then assuredly
Christ Jesus were to kill.
But see the judgments of the Lord:
In the same wicked train
The King's own son, being out to nurse,
Amongst the rest was slain.1 Chorus.

4. Of Herod's bloody rage with sad
And grievous soul I speak,
By whom this day were slain ten thousand,
Ten thousand Children weak.
Juda's bounds with scarlet wounds
Of suckling babes lay dyed;
The death was spread with crimson red,
Commanded by his pride. Chorus.

5. For unto him was told that born
There was a greater King,
Whose matchless power it should him
Into subjection bring.
Wherefore he sent incontinent
His armed bands in rage,
For to destroy each mother's joy
Under two years of age. Chorus.

6. The Son of God was sought that he
With others might be slain,
And his destruction wrought, as cruel
Herod did ordain.
But soon from Heaven this warning came,
That Mary should not stay,
But with her Child, a Son exil'd,
To Egypt take her way. Chorus.

7. Let us give praise to God therefore,
In modest mirth and glee,
And still this day adorn, wherein
Our Saviour was set free.
For Mary mild, with her dear Child,
In Egypt found great friends,
Till Herod's pride the Lord destroy'd;
And so this Carol ends. Chorus.

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  When God Was Born of Mary Free

Psallite gaudentes,
Infantum festa colentes

1. When God was born of Mary free,
Herod, the king of Galilee,
Was moved to malice by kingës three
Munera portantes,
Regem natum venerantes.

2. Herod sent for men armed bright
To seek and slay the King of light;
The blessed Child drew fro Herod's might
Armati sunt perimentes.


Rickert provided the following translations:

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  When Christ Was Born in Bethlehem

When Christ was born in Bethlehem,
Fair peace on earth to bring,
In lowly state of love He came
To be the children’s King.

And round Him, then, a holy band
Of children blest was born,
Fair guardians of His throne to stand
Attendant night and morn.

And unto them this grace was giv’n
A Savior’s name to own,
And die for Him Who out of Heav’n
Had found on earth a throne.

O blessèd babes of Bethlehem,
Who died to save our King,
Ye share the martyrs’ diadem,
And in their anthem sing!

Your lips, on earth that never spake,
Now sound th’eternal word;
And in the courts of love ye make
Your children’s voices heard.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal Child,
Make Thou our childhood Thine;
That we with Thee the meek and mild
May share the love divine.

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  Mark this Song, for It Is True
1. Mark this song, for it is true,
For it is true as clerks tell:
In old time strange things came to pass,
Great wonder and great marvel was
In Israel.

2. There was one Octavian,
Octavian of Rome Emperor,
As books old doth specify,
Of all the wide world truly,
He was lord and governor.

3. The Jews that time lacked a king,
They lacked a king to guide them well,
The Emperor of power and might,
Chose one Herod against all right,
In Israel.

4. This Herod then was King of Jews,
Was King of Jews, and he no Jew,
Forsooth he was a Paynim born,
Wherefore on faith it may be sworn
He reigned King untrue.

5. By prophecy one Isai,
One Isai at least did tell
A child should come, wondrous news,
That should be born true King of Jews
In Israel.

6. This Herod knew one born should be,
One born should be of true lineage,
That should be right heritor;
For he but by the Emperor
Was made by usurpage.

7. Wherefore of thought this King of Herod,
This King Herod in great fear fell,
For all the days most in his mirth,
Ever he feared Christ his birth
In Israel.

8. The time came it pleased God,
It pleased God so to come to pass,
For man's soul indeed
His blessed Son was b orn with speed
As his will was.

9. Tidings came to King Herod,
To King Herod, and did him tell,
That one born forsooth is he,
Which lord and king of all shall be
In Israel.

10. Herod then raged as he wode, [1]
As he were wode of this tiding,
And sent for all his scribes sure,
Yet would he not trust the Scripture,
Nor of their counseling.

11. Then this was the conclusion,
The conclusion of his counsel,
To send unto his knights anon
To slay the children every one
In Israel.

12. This cruel king this tyranny,
This tyranny did put in ure, [2]
Between a day and years two
All men-children he did slew,
Of Christ for to be sure.

13. Yet Herod missed his cruel prey,
His cruel prey as was God's will;
Joseph with Mary then did flee
With Christ to Egypt gone was she
In Israel.

14. All the while these tyrants,
These tyrants would not convert,
But innocents young
That lay sucking,
They thrust to the heart.

15. This Herod sought the children young,
The children young, with courage fell,
But in doing this vengeance
His own son was slain by chance
In Israel.

16. Alas! I think the mothers were woe,
The mothers were woe, it was great skill,
What motherly pain
To see them slain
In cradles lying still!

17. But God Himself hath them elect,
Hath them elect, in heaven to dwell,
For they were bathed in their blood,
For their Baptism forsooth it stood
In Israel.

18. Alas! Again what hearts had they,
What hearts had they those babes to kill,
With swords whey they them caught,
In cradles they lay and laughed,
And never thought ill.

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  Salvete flores Martyrum: All Hail, Ye Infant Martyrs
This hymn has seen several different forms, all ultimately deriving from the Hymn for the Epiphany from Prudentius' (384-413) Cathemerinon, which is 52 stanzas long. In 1568, four short hymns were assembled from selected stanzas from Prudentius' hymn and introduced into the Breviary by Pope Pius V. Two of these hymns, Audit tyrannus anxius and Salvete, flores Martyrum, were assigned for the feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec 28) for Matins and Laudes respectively. With the subsequent revision of the Liturgy of the Hours, these later two hymns were fused into the hymn below which is used at Laudes for the aforementioned feast
AUDIT tyrannus anxius
adesse regum principem,
qui nomen Israel regat
teneatque David regiam.
WITH terror doth the tyrant hear
the King of kings hath come to dwell
where David's court shall widely rear
A sceptered reign o'er Israel.
Exclamat amens nuntio:
Then cries out, raging at the word:
"He comes to stand where we have stood:
Hence, soldier, and with ruthless sword
deluge the cradles deep with blood!"
Quo proficit tantum nefas?
Quid crimen Herodem iuvat?
Unus tot inter funera
impune Christus tollitur.
What profiteth a crime so dread?
What hope shall Herod's bosom sway?
Alone amidst the thronging dead,
The Christ is safely born away!
SALVETE, flores martyrum,
quos lucis ipso in limine
Christi insecutor sustulit
ceu turbo nascentes rosas.
ALL hail! ye infant Martyr flowers
Cut off in life's first dawning hours:
As rosebuds snapt in tempest strife,
when Herod sought your Savior's life.
Vos prima Christi victima,
grex immolatorum tener,
aram sub ipsam simplices
palma et coronis luditis.
You, tender flock of lambs, we sing,
first victims slain for Christ your King:
beside the very altar, gay
with palms and crowns, ye seem to play.
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
o Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

Latin lyrics English translation

Salvete flores martyrum,
quos lucis ipso in limine
Christi insecutor sustulit,
ceu turbo nascentes rosas.

Vos prima Christi victima,
grex inmolatorum tener,
aram ante ipsam simplices
palma et coronis luditis.

Ye flowers of martyrdom, all hail!
Of rising morn pure blossoms frail!
By Jesu's foe were ye downcast,
Like budding roses by the blast.

Lambs of the flock too early slain,
Ye first fruits of Christ's bitter pain!
Close to His very altar, gay
With palms and crowns, ye now do play.

Neale's Translation
Version II

All hail! ye infant Martyr-flowers,
Cut off in life’s first dawning hours:
As rosebuds, snapt in tempest strife,
When Herod sought your Saviour’s life.

You, tender flock of lambs, we sing,
First victims slain for Christ your King:
Beneath the Altar’s heav’nly ray
With Martyr-palms and crowns ye play.

For their redemption glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to thee,
With Father, and with Holy Ghost,
For ever from the Martyr-host. Amen.

All hail, ye little martyr flowers,
Sweet rosebuds cut in dawning hours!
When Herod sought the Christ to find
Ye fell as bloom before the wind.

First victims of the martyr bands,
With crowns and palms in tender hands,
Around the very altar, gay
And innocent, ye seem to play.

What profited this great offense?
What use was Herod's violence?
A Babe survives that dreadful day,
And Christ is safely borne away.

All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesus, virgin-born, to thee;
All glory, as is ever meet
To Father and to Paraclete.

Version III
Version IV

Sweet flowerets of the martyr band,
Plucked by the tyrant's ruthless hand
Upon the threshold of the morn,
Like rosebuds by a tempest torn

First victims for the incarnate Lord,
A tender flock to feel the sword;
Beside the very altar gay,
With palm and crown, ye seemed to play.

Ah, what availed King Herod's wrath?
He could not stop the Savior's path.
Alone, while others murdered lay,
In safety Christ is borne away.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost forevermore. Amen.

Sweet flow'rets of the martyr band,
So early pluck's by cruel hand;
Like rosebuds by a tempest torn,
As breaks the light of summer morn;

First victims offer'd for the Lord,
Ye little knew your high reward,
As, at the very altar, gay
With psalms and crowns ye seem'd to play

Ah! what avail'd King Herod's wrath?
He cold not stay your Saviour's path:
The Child he sought alone went free;
That Child is King eternally.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Praise, honour, might, and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007
  Jesukin or Iosagan
History connects St. Ita with a lovely Gaelic lullaby in honor of the Child Jesus, "Jesukin" or " Iosagan." Apparently she was not the author, as was long believed, but the ninth-century poet who wrote it was inspired by the gentle devotion of this motherly little nun.

Gaelic lyrics English translation

alar lium im dísiurtán;
cía beith cléirech co lín sét,
is bréc uile acht Ísucán.

Altram alar lium im thig,
ní altram nach dóerathaig ---
Ísu co feraib nime,
frim chride cech n-óenadaig.

Ísucán óc mo bithmaith:
ernaid, ocus ní maithmech.
In Rí con-ic na uili
cen a guidi bid aithrech.

Ísu úasal ainglide,
noco cléirech dergnaide,
alar lium im dísirtán,
Ísu mac na Ebraide.

Maic na ruirech, maic na ríg,
im thír cía do-ísatán,
ní úaidib saílim sochor:
is tochu lium Ísucán.

Canaid cóir, a ingena,
d' fir dliges bar císucán;
atá 'na phurt túasucán
cía beith im ucht Ísucán.

Lives my little cell within;
What were wealth of cleric high,
All is lie but Jesukin.

Nursing nurtured, as 'tis right,
Harbours here no servile spright,
Jesu of the skies, who are
Next my heart through every night.

Jesu, more than angel aid,
Fostering not formed to fade,
Nursed by me in desert wild,
Jesu, Child of Judah's Maid.

Unto heaven's High King contest
Sing a chorus, maidens blest!
He is o'er us, though within
Jesukin is on our breast.

Little Jesus
It is little Jesus who is nursed by me in my little hermitage.
Though a cleric have great wealth, it is all deceitful save Jesukin.
The nursing done by me in my house is no nursing of a base churl.
Jesus with heaven's inhabitants is against my heart every night.
Little youthful Jesus is my lasting good: he never fails to give.
…Though little Jesus be in my bosom (im ucht),
he is in his mansion above.

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  Schubert: Ave Maria
Ave Maria C C6-G Am
Gratia plena Dm Am b,a,b C
Maria, gratia plena C Am-D7 B7
Maria, gratia plena Dm G-G7 Am
Ave, ave dominus D D6 A A7 g,e,c# D D7
Dominus tecuum Am a,b,c,d,c,b,a G

Benedicta tu in mulieribus G G G G7 C
Et benedictus G G G Dm-Am
Et benedictus fructus ventris G Em-E7 Dsus Dm
Ventris tui, Jesu Am Cdim-D7 G

Ave Maria C G G7 C
G-E7 Dm-G7 C


Wednesday, December 05, 2007
  The Day of Ressurection
“He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.” Matthew 28:7

Words: John of Da­mas­cus (675-749) (Αναστάσεως ήμέρα); trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, 1862.

Music: Lancashire, Hen­ry T. Smart, 1835 (MI­DI, score). Smart wrote this tune for a mu­sic fes­tiv­al in Black­burn, Lan­ca­shire, Eng­land, com­mem­o­rat­ing the 350th an­ni­ver­sa­ry of the Re­for­ma­tion in Eng­land. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Ellacombe, Würt­tem­berg, Ger­ma­ny: 1784; adapt­ed and har­mo­nized by Will­iam H. Monk, 1868 (MI­DI, score)
  • Herz­lich Tut Mich Er­freu­en, Jo­hann Wal­ther, Ein Schön­er Geist­lich­er und Christ­lich­er New­er Berck­re­yen, 1522 (MI­DI, score)
  • Rotterdam, Ber­thold Tours, 1875 (MI­DI, score)

John Neale de­scribed how ear­ly Greek Christ­ians sang this hymn:

As mid­night ap­proached, the arch­bi­shop, with his priests, ac­com­pa­nied by the king and queen, left the church and sta­tioned them­selves on the plat­form, which was raised con­sid­er­a­bly from the ground, so that they were dis­tinct­ly seen by the peo­ple. Ev­er­y­one now re­mained in breath­less ex­pec­ta­tion, hold­ing an un­light­ed ta­per in rea­di­ness when the glad mo­ment should ar­rive, while the priests still con­tin­ued mur­mur­ing their mel­an­cho­ly chant in a low half whis­per. Sud­den­ly a single re­port of a can­non an­nounced that twelve o’clock had struck and that Eas­ter Day had be­gun; then the old arch­bi­shop, ele­vat­ing the cross, ex­claimed in a loud, ex­ult­ing tone, “Christ­os anes­te!” “Christ is ris­en!” and in­stant­ly ev­ery sin­gle in­di­vid­u­al of all that host took up the cry…At that same mo­ment the op­press­ive dark­ness was suc­ceed­ed by a blaze of light from thou­sands of tap­ers which…seemed to send streams of fire in all di­rect­ions.

The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory.

Our hearts be pure from evil, that we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal of resurrection light;
And listening to His accents, may hear, so calm and plain,
His own “All hail!” and, hearing, may raise the victor strain.

Now let the heavens be joyful! Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph, and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen their notes in gladness blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen, our joy that hath no end.

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  Into The Dim Earth's Lower Parts Descending
“He…descended first into the lower parts of the earth.” Ephesians 4:9

Words: John of Da­mas­cus, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Κατήλθες έν τοίς κατωτάτοις); trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale in Hymns of the East­ern Church (Lon­don: J. Hard­ing, 1862).

Music: Morn­ing Star, James P. Hard­ing, 1892 (MI­DI, score). Al­ter­nate tune:

Into the dim earth’s lowest parts descending,
And bursting by Thy might the infernal chain
That bound the prisoners, Thou, at three days’ ending,
As Jonah from the whale, hast risen again.

Thou brakest not the seal, Thy surety’s token,
Arising from the tomb Who left’st in birth
The portals of virginity unbroken,
Opening the gates of Heaven to sons of earth.

Thou, Sacrifice ineffable and living,
Didst to the Father by Thyself atone
As God eternal: resurrection giving
To Adam, general parent, by Thine own.

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  Let Us Rise In Early Morning
“Early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared.” Luke 24:1

Words: John of Da­mas­cus, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Ορθρίσωμεν όρθρου βαθέος); trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale in Hymns of the East­ern Church.

Music: Cwm Rhondda, John Hughes, 1907 (MI­DI, score).

If you have ac­cess to a pho­to of John Hughes that we could put on­line, please click here.

Let us rise in early morning,
And, instead of ointments, bring
Hymns of praises to our Master,
And His Resurrection sing:
We shall see the Sun of Justice
Ris’n with healing on His wing,
Ris’n with healing on His wing.

Thy unbounded loving-kindness,
They that groaned in Hades’ chain,
Prisoners, from afar beholding,
Hasten to the light again
And to that eternal Pascha
Wove the dance and raised the strain,
Wove the dance and raised the strain.

Go ye forth, His saints, to meet Him!
Go with lamps in every hand!
From the sepulcher He riseth:
Ready for the Bridegroom stand:
And the Pascha of salvation
Hail, with His triumphant band,
Hail, with His triumphant band.

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  Those Eternal Bowers
“In the midst of the street…and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life.” Revelation 22:2

Words: Stan­zas 1 & 3 at­trib­ut­ed to John of Da­mas­cus, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Τὰς εδρὰς τὰς αιωνίας); trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale in Hymns of the East­ern Church, 1862, alt.

Music: Mor­ley, Thom­as Mor­ley, 1867 (MI­DI, score).

If you have ac­cess to a pic­ture of Thom­as Mor­ley that we could put on­line, please click here.

Those eternal bowers, man hath never trod,
Those unfading flowers round the throne of God:
Who may hope to gain them after weary fight?
Who at length attain them, clad in robes of white?

He who wakes from slumber at the Spirit’s voice,
Daring here to number things unseen his choice:
He whose one oblation is a life of love,
Knit in God’s salvation to the blest above.

Shame upon you, legions of the heav’nly King,
Citizens of regions past imagining!
What! with pipe and tabor dream away the light,
When He bids you labor, when He tells you, “Fight”?

Jesus, Lord of glory, as we breast the tide,
Whisper Thou the story of the other side;
Where the saints are casting crowns before Thy feet,
Safe for everlasting, in Thyself complete.

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  Thou Hallowed Chosen Morn of Praise
“Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” 1 Corinthians 15:20

Words: John of Da­mas­cus, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Αὕτη ἥ κλητή κλητή καὶ ἁγία ἡμέρα); trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, 1862.

Music: Ei­sen­ach, Jo­hann H. Schein, 1628; har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach (1685-1750) (MI­DI, score).

Thou hallowed chosen morn of praise,
That best and greatest shinest;
Fair Easter, queen of all the days,
Of seasons, best, divinest!
Christ rose from death; and we adore
Forever and forevermore.

Come, let us taste the vine’s new fruit,
For heav’nly joy preparing;
Today the branches with the root
In resurrection sharing:
Whom as true God our hymns adore
Forever and forevermore.

Rise, Zion, rise! and looking forth,
Behold thy children round thee!
From east and west, from south and north,
Thy scattered sons have found thee;
And in thy bosom Christ adore
Forever and for evermore.

O Father, O co-equal Son,
O co-eternal Spirit,
In persons Three, in Godhead One,
And One in power and merit;
In Thee baptized, we Thee adore
Forever and for evermore.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007
  Behold Emmanuel
Em G Am D7 G / D G C Am Bm Em / Am Em A7 D / Em D G Am D7 G
G D Em Bm Am D7 Em / D G C Am Bm Em

Am C Dm G7 C / G C F Dm Em Am / Dm Am D7 G / Am G C Dm G7 C
C G Am Em Dm G7 Am / G C F Dm Em Am

Behold Emmanuel in judgment hall
As sinful men condemn the Lord of all
What trial starts with the verdict in place?
Behold Emmanuel struck in the face.

Behold, behold Emmanuel and see,
He stumbles up the Way of Suffering.
He's crushed beneath the weight of our sin.
Behold, Emmanuel stumbles again.

Behold Emmanuel at Calvary
A bleeding brow, each breath is agony.
An angry mob, two thieves by His side,
Behold Emmanuel, the crucified.

Behold, behold Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.


All my favorite hymns. Most of them are from before the Reformation.

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