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"At even long ago" by C. Bingham

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Haruo's picture

This is a Christmas hymn I know only by its Esperanto version, "Vespere, antaŭ longe". It is #45 in the 1965 (5th) edition of Himnaro Esperanta, whose compiler, Montagu Christie Butler, is credited with the translation. It is set there to Hullah's BENTLEY, with LANCASHIRE offered as an alternative (I reversed the order of tunes in my online hymnal). I cannot find any reference to it in English media, and I do not know whether the "C. Bingham" Butler credits the original text to is the same as the C. Clifton Bingham in the Hymnary. I would like to have the original text.

An unrhymed, not-for-singing somewhat literal English retranslatio would read:
In the evening, long ago, at royal Bethlehem
Arrived three wise ones with worship-minded hearts;
From the far east, by the guiding star,
Prayerfully traveling, with eyes to heaven.

Shepherds stood watch, all earth was silent —
The sheep rested in the evening's peace.
Then a star shone forth on the humble scene,
And changed earthly night into glory of morning.

Still now that Star drives off the shades of life,
Shining on mankind in pure holy glory;
To that Eternal Star, lighting the way,
We ever look with loving trusting joy.