I first invented in Thy praise,
O Blessèd, these new metric lays.
Immortal Thou! of virgin mild
The holy ever glorious Child:
Hope of the world, salvation's stem,
O Jesus of Jerusalem!
To Thee I raise the song on high;
To Thee my harp-strings joyful ply.
O show me favour, heavenly King!
Accept the music which I bring
Of holy melodies; for Thou
Art He to whom my soul doth bow,
God over all, God's mighty Son,
The ever blest Immortal One!
The Eternal Father gave Thee birth;
Birth Thou hast given to heaven and earth.
All worlds are Thine; all nature Thine;
And wisdom infinite, divine.
In heaven, as God, Thy fame is spread;
Below, as mingled with the dead.
But when the blessèd day had shone
That Thou shouldst mortal flesh put on
Of virgin mother, then the star,
Seen by the magi from afar
In eastern clime, perplexed their mind
And varied skill; nor could they find
Or who, or what, the child might be,
Or what the hidden deity;
No answer could their wisdom bring;
Or God, or doomed to die, or king.
'Tis well! meet be your offerings:
Bring myrrh for death's last sufferings:
Bring royal presents of fine gold;
And gifts of frankincense unfold.
My God! here frankincense behold!
My King! deign to receive the gold!
And O! Thou Saviour born to die,
Myrrh, for Thy tomb let me supply!
And cleansèd was the earth by Thee,
And cleansèd were the waves of sea;
And all the paths which upward bear,
In slender element of air;
And dark recesses underground,
In succour to the dead there bound,
By Thee, great Conqueror, were trod;
And Hades stood aghast at God.
But O! propitious be, great King!
Smile on the tribute which I bring
Of tuneful songs and measured lays
Designèd for Thy holy praise.
Songs and Hymns of Earliest Greek Christian Poets, 1876