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That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright

Representative Text

1 That Easter day with joy was bright:
the sun shone out with fairer light
when to their longing eyes restored,
th'apostles saw their risen Lord.

2 His risen flesh with radiance glowed,
his wounded hands and feet he showed;
those scars their solemn witness gave
that Christ was risen from the grave.

3 O Jesus, King of gentleness,
do thou thyself our hearts possess,
that we may give thee all our days
the willing tribute of our praise.

4 O Lord of all, with us abide
in this, our joyful Easter-tide;
from ev'ry weapon death can wield
thine own redeemed forever shield.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #361

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: That Easter day with joy was bright
Title: That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright
Latin Title: Claro paschali gaudio
Translator: J. M. Neale (1852)
Source: Early medieval Latin hymn
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Alleluia
Copyright: Public Domain


Aurora lucis rutilat. [Easter.] This hymn is ascribed to St. Ambrose, but was not received among his undoubted works by the Benedictine editors. In rendering the hymn into English some translators have given the text in full, whilst others have taken a part only.
This translation by Dr. Neale, in two parts, was published in the Hymnal Noted, in 1852, and continued in later editions. Pt. i. consists of lines 1-20, and 4 lines, and a doxology not in the original, but in the Sarum Breviary, pt. ii. of lines 21-44, and the closing lines of pt. i. repeated.
In 1861, the Compilers of Hymns Ancient & Modern gave this rendering in that collection with rather extensive alterations, and rearranged in three parts, thus:—

i. Aurora lucis rutilat. "Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky.
ii. Tristes erant Apostoli. "The Apostles' hearts were full of pain."
iii. Claro Paschali gaudio. "That Eastertide with joy was bright."

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



PUER NOBIS is a melody from a fifteenth-century manuscript from Trier. However, the tune probably dates from an earlier time and may even have folk roots. PUER NOBIS was altered in Spangenberg's Christliches GesangbUchlein (1568), in Petri's famous Piae Cantiones (1582), and again in Praetorius's (P…

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