1 Word supreme, before creation
Born of God eternally
Who didst will for our salvation
To be born on earth, and die,
Well thy saints have kept their station,
Watching till thine hour drew nigh.
2 Now ’tis come, and faith espies thee;
Like an eagle in the morn,
John in steadfast worship eyes thee,
Thy belov'd, thy latest born:
In thy glory he descries thee
Reigning from the tree of scorn.
3 He first hoping and believing
Did beside the grace adore;
Latest he, the warfare leaving,
Landed on the eternal shore;
And his witness we receiving
Own thee Lord for evermore.
4 Much he asked in loving wonder,
On thy bosom leaning, Lord!
In that secret place of thunder,
Answer kind didst thou accord,
Wisdom for thy Church to ponder
Till the day of dread award.
5 Thee, the Almighty King eternal,
Father of the eternal Word;
Thee, the Father’s Word supernal,
Thee, of both, the Breath adored;
Heaven, and earth, and realms infernal
Own, one glorious God and Lord. Amen.
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 >
Word supreme, before creation. J. Keble. [St. John Evangelist.] This hymn is dated "Hursley, April 19, 1856," and was first published in the Salisbury Hymn Book, 1857, No. 43, in 7 stanzas of 6 lines. It was repeated in Keble's posthumous Miscellaneous Poems, 1869, p. Ill, and in several hymn-books. Mr. L. C. Biggs, in his annotated edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1867, has drawn attention to the similarity between this hymn and a Sequence of the 11th cent.,"Verbum Dei, Deo natum," which, according to Mr. Keble, "probably suggested some of his ideas." It has also a trace of Adam of St. Victor's "Verbi vere substantivi." In his annotated edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1867, Mr. Biggs has rendered Keble's hymn into Latin as, "Verbum Dei, Increatum."
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Display Title: Word supreme, before creationFirst Line: Word supreme, before creationTune Title: GRAFTONAuthor: John Keble, 1792-1866Meter: 87 87 87Date: 1986Subject: St. John the Evangelist | December 27th; The Christian Year | Festivals and Other Holy Days: Proper