Virgin-born, We Bow before Thee

Representative Text

1 Virgin-born, we bow before thee;
blessèd was the womb that bore thee;
Mary, mother meek and mild,
blessèd was she in her child.

2 Blessèd was the breast that fed thee;
blessèd was the hand that led thee;
blessèd was the parent's eye
that watched thy slumbering infancy.

3 Blessèd she by all creation,
who brought forth the world's Salvation,
blessèd they for ever blest,
who love thee most and serve thee best.

4 Virgin-born we bow before thee;
blessèd was the womb that bore thee;
Mary, mother meek and mild,
blessèd was she in her child.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #317a

Author: Reginald Heber

Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father's church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include "Holy, Holy, Holy," are still in use today. -- Greg Scheer, 1995… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Virgin born, we bow before thee
Title: Virgin-born, We Bow before Thee
Author: Reginald Heber
Meter: D
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Virgin born, we bow before Thee. Bishop R. Heber. [Lent]. Appeared in his posthumous Hymns, &c, 1827, p. 54, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, and appointed for the 3rd Sunday in Lent. As given in the People's Hymnal, 1867, No. 373, the lines "Mary, Mother meek and mild"; are altered to "Mary, Maid and Mother mild." It is otherwise unchanged.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



GENEVAN 77 was first published in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter as a setting for Psalm 86. It was set to Psalm 77 in the 1562 edition. Claude Goudimel (PHH 6) composed the harmonization in 1564. GENEVAN 77's many repeated phrases make it memorable; it is in Hypo-Dorian mode. The plaintive…

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Instances (1 - 15 of 15)

Ancient and Modern #317a


Ancient and Modern #317b

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #784

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #185


Common Praise #244a

Page Scan

Common Praise #244b


Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #701

Page Scan

CPWI Hymnal #752

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #311

Hymns Old and New #527


RitualSong #527

TextPage Scan

The Hymnal 1982 #258


The New English Hymnal #187


Worship (3rd ed.) #403

TextPage Scan

Worship (4th ed.) #445

Include 16 pre-1979 instances
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