The voice that breathed o'er Eden

The voice that breathed o'er Eden

Author: John Keble (1857)
Published in 96 hymnals

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1 The voice that breathed o'er Eden,
That earliest wedding-day,
The primal marriage blessing,
It hath not pass'd away.

2 Still in the pure espousal
Of Christian man and maid,
The holy Three are with us,
The threefold grace is said.

3 Be present, awful Father,
To give away this bride,
As Eve Thou gav'st to Adam
Out of His own piercèd side:

4 Be present, Son of Mary,
To join their loving hands,
As Thou didst bind two natures
In Thine eternal bands!

5 Be present, holiest Spirit,
To bless them as they kneel,
As Thou, for Christ the Bridegroom,
The heavenly spouse dost seal!

6 O spread Thy pure wing o'er them,
Let no ill power find place,
When onward to Thine altar
Their hallowed path they trace,

7 To cast their crowns before Thee
In perfect sacrifice,
Till to the home of gladness
With Christ's own Bride they rise

Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 1871

Author: John Keble

Keble, John, M.A., was born at Fairford, in Gloucestershire, on St. Mark's Day, 1792. His father was Vicar of Coln St. Aldwin's, about three miles distant, but lived at Fairford in a house of his own, where he educated entirely his two sons, John and Thomas, up to the time of their entrance at Oxford. In 1806 John Keble won a Scholarship at Corpus Christi College, and in 1810 a Double First Class, a distinction which up to that time had been gained by no one except Sir Robert Peel. In 1811 he was elected a Fellow of Oriel, a very great honour, especially for a boy under 19 years of age; and in 1811 he won the University Prizes both for the English and Latin Essays. It is somewhat remarkable that amid this brilliantly successful career,… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The voice that breathed o'er Eden
Author: John Keble (1857)
Language: English
Notes: This hymn was sung at the marriage of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. It's a good choice for weddings, and is still sung in marriage ceremonies at Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, in the house where Lucy Montgomery wed. Alternate tunes: MATRIMONY, John Stainer, in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1889; ST. ALPHEGE, Henry J. Gauntlett, 1852; ST. EDITH, Justin H. Knecht, 1799, & Edward Husband, 1871; WEDDING DAY, Edward G. McCollin, 1895
Copyright: Public Domain


The voice that breathed o'er Eden. J. Keble. [Holy Matrimony.] Written for and first published in the Salisbury Hymn Book, 1857, where it was given as No. 187, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines. In the author's posthumous Miscellaneous Poems, 1869, it is headed "Holy Matrimony. To be sung at the Commencement of the Service," and is dated "July 12, 1857." In Biggs's annotated edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1867, it is rendered into Latin by Lord Lyttelton (1866) as "Elle Edenaeas qui Patris Deus." The original is in extensive use, and is one of the most beautiful of modern hymns for Holy Matrimony.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


ST. ALPHEGE (Gauntlett)


John Bacchus Dykes (b. Kingston-upon-Hull' England, 1823; d. Ticehurst, Sussex, England, 1876) wrote HARTFORD in 1872 for the text “The Voice that Breathed o'er Eden” on the occasion of a friend's wedding. The American tune title HARTFORD refers to the capital of Connecticut. The tune is known…

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EDEN (Boston)



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