O Lord Most High, Eternal King

O Lord Most High, eternal King

Author: St. Ambrose; Translator: J. M. Neale
Published in 15 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1. O Lord most high, eternal King,
By Thee redeemed Thy praise we sing;
The bonds of death are burst by Thee,
And grace has won the victory.

2. Ascending to the Father’s throne
Thou claim’st the kingdom as Thine own;
Thy days of mortal weakness o’er
All power is Thine forevermore.

3. To Thee the whole creation now
Shall, in its threefold order, bow,
Of things on earth, and things on high,
And things that underneath us lie.

4. In awe and wonder angels see
How changed is man’s estate by Thee,
How flesh makes pure as flesh did stain,
And Thou, true God, in flesh dost reign.

5. Be Thou our Joy, O mighty Lord,
As Thou wilt be our great Reward;
Let all our glory be in Thee
Both now and through eternity.

6. All praise from every heart and tongue
To Thee, ascended Lord, be sung;
All praise to God the Father be
And Holy Ghost eternally.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #5117

Author: St. Ambrose

Ambrose (b. Treves, Germany, 340; d. Milan, Italy, 397), one of the great Latin church fathers, is remembered best for his preaching, his struggle against the Arian heresy, and his introduction of metrical and antiphonal singing into the Western church. Ambrose was trained in legal studies and distinguished himself in a civic career, becoming a consul in Northern Italy. When the bishop of Milan, an Arian, died in 374, the people demanded that Ambrose, who was not ordained or even baptized, become the bishop. He was promptly baptized and ordained, and he remained bishop of Milan until his death. Ambrose successfully resisted the Arian heresy and the attempts of the Roman emperors to dominate the church. His most famous convert and disciple w… Go to person page >

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 >

Text Information

First Line: O Lord Most High, eternal King
Title: O Lord Most High, Eternal King
Latin Title: Aeterne Rex altissime
Author: St. Ambrose
Translator: J. M. Neale
Meter: 8.8.8.8
Language: English

Notes

Aeterne Rex altissime, Redemptor. [Ascension.] The text of this hymn has been so altered at various times that the true original and the origin of its various forms are most difficult to determine. The researches of the best hymnologists, when summarized, give the following results:
1. Daniel, vol. i. No. 162, gives the text in 7 stanzas of 4 lines and a doxology, from a 13th century manuscript at Wurzburg; interpolating therewith 6 stanzas, which are only found in the Mozarabic Breviary He adds in parallel columns, the revised text of the Roman Breviary 1632.
2. The Roman Breviary form has continued down to and is in use at the present time, as the hymn at Matins for the Ascension-day, and from thence daily till Whitsun Day, unless the Festival of an Apostle or Evangelist interrupts the usual order. It is composed of stanzas i., iii., vi., vii., x., xi.,xii. and xiii., of the old form, somewhat altered. This text is in all modern editions of the Roman Breviary and Card. Newman's Hymni Eccl., 1838 and 1865.
3. We have next the Hymnarium Sarisburiense, Lond., 1851, pp. 101-2, where it is given as the Hymn at Vespers on the Vigil of the Ascension, and daily to Whitsuntide: also at Matins on the Feast of the Ascension itself. Variations are added from the York Breviary, which assigns it to the first and second Vespers of the Ascension,
And throughout the Octave.—-&. Alban's, "to the Ascension of the Lord at Vespers;"— Worcester, "the Ascension of the Lord at Matins," &c. Different readings are also given from a Canterbury manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon times.
4. Mone, No. 171, gives stanzas i.-iv. of the old text from manuscripts of the 14th and 15th century at Karlsruhe. This form he holds is by St. Ambrose. In addition he gives at No. 172, stanzas v.-vii. from manuscripts of the 14th and 15th cenuryt, at Karlsruhe, &c, and holds that they are not by St. Ambrose, and yet by a writer of the 5th cent. The Mozarabic Breviary stanzas he considers to be the work of a Spanish imitator of Prudentius of the 5th century
5. It is also in the Mozarabic Breviary 1502, f. 135; in an 11th cent. manuscript in the British Museum (Jul. A. vi. f. 51); and in another of the same cent. (Vesp. D. xii. f. 756). In the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, p. 90, it is printed from a Durham manuscript of the 11th century.
In 1855, Daniel, iv. pp. 79-83, gave an extensive note on this hymn, dealing with its complex authorship, &c. He entered fully and with much feeling into the verbal and metrical questions which led him to oppose some of the opinions of Mone on the authorship, &c, of the hymn. The note is too long for quotation, but may be consulted with advantage. The hymn "Tu Christe nostrum gaudium" is a portion of this hymn. It begins with line 17. [Rev.W. A. Shoults, B. D.]
Translations in common use:—

4. 0 King eternal, Lord most High. By J. A. Johnston, in his English Hymnal, 1852, No. 118. It is also in later editions.
5. Eternal Monarch, King most High. By J. M. Neale, from the Sarum Breviary, published in the Hymnal Noted 1852, No. 31. It is included in the Hymner, 1882, No. 67. After undergoing considerable alterations by the compilers of Hymns Ancient & Modern, it came forth in the first edition 1861, as "0 Lord most High, eternal King." This is repeated in the revised edition, 1875, and other collections.

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tune

GONFALON ROYAL

Percy C. Buck (b. West Ham, Essex, England, 1871; d. Hindhead, Haslemere, Surrey, England, 1947), director of music at the well-known British boys' academy Harrow School, wrote GONFALON ROYAL for “The royal banners forward go” (gonfalon is an ancient Anglo-Norman word meaning banner). Buck publi…

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EASTWICK


AETERNE REX ALTISSIME


Timeline

Media

The Cyber Hymnal #5117
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
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Instances

Instances (1 - 4 of 4)

Common Praise (1998) #245

TextScoreAudio

The Cyber Hymnal #5117

The Hymnal 1982 #220

The Hymnal 1982 #221

Include 11 pre-1979 instances
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