A Poor Brother's Hymnal
Monday, March 06, 2006
  A solis ortus cardine

John Mason Neale
1. From lands that see the sun arise,
To earth’s remotest boundaries,
The virgin born today we sing,
The Son of Mary, Christ the King.

2. Blest Author of this earthly frame,
To take a servant’s form he came,
That, liberating flesh by flesh,
Whom He had made might live afresh.

3. In that chaste parent’s holy womb,
Celestial grace hath found its home:
And she, as earthly bride unknown,
Yet call that Offspring blest her own.

4. The mansion of the modest breast
Becomes a shrine where God shall rest:
The pure and undefiled one
Conceived in her womb the Son.

5. That Son, that Royal Son she bore,
Whom Gabriel had told afore:
Whom, in his Mother yet concealed,
The Infant Baptist had revealed.

6. The manger and the straw He bore,
The cradle did He not abhor:
By milk in infant portion fed,
Who gives ev'n fowls their daily bread.

7. The heavenly chorus fill'd the sky,
The Angels sang to God on high,
What time to shepherds, watching lone
They made creation’s Shepherd known.

8. For that thine Advent glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
With Father and with Holy Ghost,
From men and from the heav'nly host. Amen.

John Ellerton
1. From east to west, from shore to shore,
Let every heart awake and sing
The holy Child Whom Mary bore,
The Christ, the everlasting King.

2. Behold, the world's Creator wears
The form and fashion of a slave;
Our very flesh our Maker shares,
His fallen creature, man, to save.

3. For this how wondrously He wrought!
A maiden, in her lowly place,
Became, in ways beyond all thought,
The chosen vessel of His grace.

4. She bowed her to the angel's word
Declaring what the Father willed,
And suddenly the promised Lord
That pure and hallowed temple filled.

5. He shrank not from the oxen's stall,
He lay within the manger bed,
And He whose bounty feedeth all
At Mary's breast Himself was fed.

6. And while the angels in the sky
Sang praise above the silent field,
To shepherds poor the Lord Most High,
The one great Shepherd, was revealed.

7. All glory for this blessèd morn
To God the Father ever be;
All praise to Thee, O virgin born,
All praise, O Holy Ghost, to Thee.

Paean Alphabeticus de Christo

Words by Coelius Sedulius, c. 450
Part One, A Solis Ortus Cardine
Part Two, Hostis Herodes impie

1. A solis ortus cardine
Adusque terre limitem
Christum canamus principem
Natum Maria virgine.

2. Beatus auctor seculi
Servile corpus induit,
Ut carne carnem liberans
Non perderet, quos condidit.

3. Caste parentis viscera
Celestis intrat gratia,
Venter puelle baiulat
Secreta, que non noverat.

4. Domus pudici pectoris
Templum repente fit Dei,
Intacta nesciens virum
Verbo creavit filium

5. Enixa est puerpera,
Quem Gabriel predixerat ,
Quem matris alvo gestiens
Clausus Johannes senserat.

6. Feno iacere pertulit,
Presepe non abhorruit
Parvoque lacte pastus est,
Per quem nec ales esurit.

7. Gaudet chorus celestium,
Et angeli canunt Deum,
Palamque fit pastoribus
Pastor creator omnium .

8. Hostis Herodes impie,
Christum venire quid times?
Non eripit mortalia,
Qui regna dat celestia.

9. Ibant magi, qua venerant,
Stellam sequentes previam,
Lumen requirunt lumine,
Deum fatentur munere .

10. Katerva matrum personat
Collisa deflens pignora,
Quorum tyrannus milia
Christo sacravit victimam.

11. Lavacra puri gurgitis
Cekstis agnus attigit ,
Peccata qui mundi tulit
Nos abluendo sustulit.

12. Miraculis dedit fidem
Habere se Deum patrem,
Infirma sanans corpora
Et suscitans cadavera.

13. Novum genus potentie!
Aque rubescunt hydrie,
Vinumque iussa fundere
Mutavit unda originem .

14. Orat salutem servulo
Nixus genu centurio ,
Credentis ardor plurirnus
Extinxit ignes febriurn

15. Petrus per undas arubulat
Christi levatus dextera;
Natura quam negaverat,
Fides paravit semitam.

16. Quarta die iam fetides
Titam recepit Lazarus
Mortisque liber vinculis
Factus superstes est sibi.

17. Rivos cruoris torridi
Contacta vestis obstruit:
Fletu rigante supplicis
Arent fluenta sanguinis.

18. Solutus omni corpore
Iussus repente surgere
Suis vicissim gressihus
Eger vehebat lectulum,

19. Tunc ille Judas carnifcx
Ausus magistrum tradere
Pacem ferebat osculo,
Quam non habebat pectore

20. Verax datur fallacibus,
Pium flagellat impius,
Crucique fixus innocens
Coniunctus est latronibus

21. Xeromurram post sabbatum
Quedam vehebant compares,
Quas allocutus angelus
Vivum sepulcro non tegi .

22. Ymnis, venite, dulcibus
Omnes canamus subditum
Christi triumpho tartarum,
Qui nos redemit venditus.

23. Zelum draconis invidi
Et os leonis pessimi
Calcavit unicus Dei
Seseque celis reddidit.

Source: The Latin Library; Also found at Intratext Digital Library

Excerpts of Part One, "A Solis Ortus Cardine" (verses 1-8), and of Part Two, "Hostis Herodes impie" (verses 8 and following), can be widely found on the World Wide Web.

This poem by Coelius Sedulius was written in the first half of the fifth century, in twenty-three stanzas, entitled Paean Alphabeticus de Christo: "a song of triumph to Christ, according to the letters of the alphabet. "

Two hymns have been made from this poem; one with the first stanza: "A solis ortus cardine," the other, beginning: "Hostis Herodis Impie." Both have been translated by Luther: "Christum wir sollen loben schon," and "Was fürchtst du Feind Herodes sehr." There are seven English translations of Luther’s version of the first part, and about twelve renderings based upon the Latin original. Some translators include Rev. John Mason Neale, 1852, Rev. J. Ellerton, 1870, Danish translator Claus Mortensen, 1528, and Søren Poulsøn Judichær (Gotlænder), author and minister in Slangerup.

Hymns based on A Solis Ortus Cardine:

Hymns based on Hostis Herodis Impie:

The complete text, dating from the 8th century, is found in a manuscript in the British Museum and also in many editions of the works of Sedulius.

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