anchorhold: Advent wreath with rose candle (advent)
[personal profile] anchorhold

I think this may be the most perfect hymn ever, though good videos of it on youtube are curiously hard to find (you will note that the translation I give below is different; the congregation is singing the JM Neale one, but think I like the form I quote below better. Also, it’s from “Songs of Praise”, so ignore the rather cheesy presenter at the start…)

Prudentius: Cordes natus est parentes:

Of the Father's heart begotten,
Ere the world from chaos rose,
He is Alpha, from that Fountain
All that is and has been flows;
He is Omega, of all things,
Yet to come the distant Close,
Evermore and evermore for ever.

By His word was all created
He commanded and 'twas done;
Earth and sky and boundless ocean,
Universe of three in one,
All that sees the moon's soft radiance,
All that breathes beneath the sun,
Evermore and evermore.

He assumed this mortal body,
Frail and feeble, doomed to die,
That the race from dust created,
Might not perish utterly,
Which the dreadful Law had sentenced
In the depths of hell to lie,
Evermore and evermore.

O how blest that wondrous birthday,
When the Maid the curse retrieved,
Brought to birth mankind's salvation
By the Holy Ghost conceived,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer
In her loving arms received,
Evermore and evermore.

This is he, whom seer and sibyl
Sang in ages long gone by;
This is he of old revealed
In the page of prophecy;
Lo! he comes the promised Saviour;
Let the world his praises cry!
Evermore and evermore.

Sing, ye heights of heaven, his praises;
Angels and Archangels, sing!
Wheresoe’er ye be, ye faithful,
Let your joyous anthems ring,
Every tongue his name confessing,
Countless voices answering,
Evermore and evermore.

Let the storm and summer sunshine,
Gliding stream and sounding shore,
Sea and forest, frost and zephyr,
Day and night their Lord alone;
Let creation join to laud thee
Through the ages evermore,
Evermore and evermore.

Translation by Roby Furley Davis, for the English Hymnal (1906).

(It’s very, very neoplatonic, but it’s a magical hymn for me; I remember singing it at an evening service one Advent; the power went off, but there was enough light from the candles, and we finished the hymn unaccompanied in the flickering half-light.) Unfortunately people tend to cut out verse two and the last verse, which annoys me no end, because it’s a very important part of the theology of the hymn: that all creation is loved and redeemed by Christ, not just H. Sapiens.
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