Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

Representative Text

1 Come, ye faithful, raise the strain
of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought his Israel
into joy from sadness;
loosed from Pharaoh's bitter yoke
Jacob's sons and daughters;
led them with unmoistened foot
through the Red Sea waters.

2 'Tis the spring of souls today;
Christ hath burst his prison,
and from three days' sleep in death
as a sun hath risen;
all the winter of our sins,
long and dark, is flying
from his light, to whom we give
laud and praise undying.

3 Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendor,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render;
comes to glad Jerusalem,
who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains
Jesus' resurrection.

4 Neither might the gates of death,
nor the tomb's dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal
hold thee as a mortal:
but today amidst thine own
thou didst stand, bestowing
thine own peace, which evermore
passeth human knowing.

5 "Alleuia!" now we cry
to our King immortal,
who, triumphant, burst the bars
of the tomb's dark portal;
"Alleluia!" with the Son,
God the Father praising;
"Alleluia!" yet again
to the Spirit raising.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #356

Translator: J. M. Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >

Author: St. John of Damascus

Eighth-century Greek poet John of Damascus (b. Damascus, c. 675; d. St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, c. 754) is especially known for his writing of six canons for the major festivals of the church year. John's father, a Christian, was an important official at the court of the Muslim caliph in Damascus. After his father's death, John assumed that position and lived in wealth and honor. At about the age of forty, however, he became dissatisfied with his life, gave away his possessions, freed his slaves, and entered the monastery of St. Sabas in the desert near Jerusalem. One of the last of the Greek fathers, John became a great theologian in the Eastern church. He defended the church's use of icons, codified the practices of Byzantine chant, and wr… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Come, ye faithful, raise the strain
Title: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
Greek Title: Αϊσωμεν, πάντεζ λαοί
Translator: J. M. Neale
Author: St. John of Damascus
Meter: 7.6.7.6 D
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain

Notes

Scripture References: st. 1 = 1 Cor. 15:20-28 st. 2 = Matt. 28:1-9 Eighth-century Greek poet John of Damascus (b. Damascus, c. 675; d. St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, c. 754) is especially known for his writing of six canons for the major festivals of the church year. (A canon is a form of Greek hymnody based on biblical canticles consisting of nine odes, each with six to nine stanzas.) His "Golden Canon" is the source of Easter hymns (see also 390). Written around 750 and inspired by the Song of Moses in Exodus 15, this text is John's first ode from the canon for the Sunday after Easter. John's father, a Christian, was an important official at the court of the Muslim caliph in Damascus. After his father's death, John assumed that position and lived in wealth and honor. At about the age of forty, however, he became dissatisfied with his life, gave away his possessions, freed his slaves, and entered the monastery of St. Sabas in the desert near Jerusalem. One of the last of the Greek fathers, John became a great theologian in the Eastern church. He defended the church's use of icons, codified the practices of Byzantine chant, and wrote about science, philosophy, and theology. All canons in the Greek church demonstrated how Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Christ's resurrection. The first ode of each canon was based on the Passover event and on Exodus 15 as the metaphor for Christ's delivery of his people from the slavery of sin and death (seen more clearly at 390). That metaphor lies behind stanza 1. Stanza 2 uses images of spring and sunshine as metaphors for the new life and light of Christ. Stanza 3 concludes the text with an Easter doxology. John M. Neale (PHH 342) translated the text in his article on Greek hymnology in the Christian Remembrancer (April, 1859) and reprinted it in his Hymns of the Eastern Church in 1862. The three stanzas are taken from Neale's stanzas la and 3b (st. 1), his stanza 2 (st. 2), and a doxology from the 1868 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (st. 3). Liturgical Use: Easter season. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook ============================ Come, ye faithful, raise the strain, p. 87, i. The centos from this translation by Dr. Neale have undergone some alterations in recent collections. These include: (1) Church Hymns, 1903, where stanza i., line 8, reads "Thanks and praise " for "Laud and praise," &c.; and stanza iii., line 5, "Thou to-day, amidst Thine own," for "But to-day, amidst the twelve"; (2) Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1904, where the last stanza is entirely rewritten; and (3) The English Hymnal, 1906, in which Dr. Neale's text is faithfully followed. It will be noted that the texts of Church Hymns and Hymns Ancient & Modern are altered to bring the hymn in line with the fact that both Judas Iscariot and Thomas were absent on the first Easter night. Sacred history denies that "twelve" were present. For the original Greek text, see Moorsom's Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient & Modern 1903, p. 88. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)

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