Monday, October 3, 2016

12th-Century Praise & Worship

I am always on the lookout for “new” ancient hymnody.  This was written in the twelfth century by Adam of St. Victor and translated by Digby S. Wrangham.

Sequence for Christmas, V

Songs of joy let us be raising
To that Savior now, in praising
Whom with us heaven’s choirs delight;
News of peace from heaven is brought us,
Heaven is leagued with earth about us,
And the Church with angels bright.

God the Word, with our flesh blended,
As beforehand was intended,
She, who never knew a man,
Virgin, bears, God’s temple hallowed,
Following none, by no one followed,
Ever since the world began.

That a bush with red fire gloweth,
Yet the fire no harm there doeth,
Is a new and wondrous thing:
Heaven drops dew, the clouds rain fountains,
Melt the hills and drip the mountains,
Jesse’s root doth upward spring.

From that root a flower upgroweth,
As the prophet plainly showeth
In his prophecy of yore:
David as that root appeareth,
As the rod the maid that beareth,
As its flower the Child she bore.

Guilty man to raise to heaven,
Condescends the God-man even
To our nature’s misery.
Who would not with joy be praising,
Songs of wondering gladness raising,
Grace-work of such novelty?

What is more full of bliss,
What is more fathomless,
Than such a mystery?
How worthy all our praise,
How unlike human ways,
Our God's Humility!

Wondrous beauty hath the flower,
That rich grace’s sevenfold dower
Hath commended to our care.
Let us in this flower delight us,
Which doth both by taste invite us,
And by scent and semblance rare.

Jesu, infant death-defying!
May Thy birthday be supplying
Peace to us and Joys divine:
Flower and fruit of spotless maiden,
With immortal fragrance laden!
Glory and great praise be Thine!


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Virgin, bears, God’s temple hallowed,

Flower and fruit of spotless maiden,

If it wasn't for these two lines of false Romanist teachings, this hymn would be really good!

Steve Bricker said...

Glenn, I had noticed that first line and understood what was probably intended, but I completely missed that the second might refer to the immaculate conception. Thanks for bringing that out. You are correct that this only needs just a tweak.

And then to make it marketable, we could add a mindlessly repetitive bridge and chorus--not.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, your last line gave me a good laugh!