Yesterday, with exultation
Joined the world in celebration
Of her promised Saviour’s birth:
Yesterday the Angel nation
Poured the strains of jubilation
O’er the Monarch born on earth.
But today, o’er death victorious,
By his faith and actions glorious,
By his miracles renowned,
Dared the Deacon Protomartyr
Earthly life for Heav’n to barter,
Faithful midst the faithless found.
Forward, champion, in thy quarrel!
Certain of a certain laurel,
Holy Stephen, persevere!
Perjured witnesses confounding,
Satan’s Synagogue astounding
By thy doctrine true and clear.
Lo! in Heav’n thy Witness liveth;
Bright and faithful proof He giveth
Of His Martyr’s full success:
Thou by name a Crown impliest;
Meetly then in pangs thou diest
For the Crown of Righteousness!
For a crown that fadeth never,
Bear the torturer’s brief endeavour,
Victory waits to end the strife.
Death shall be thy birth’s beginning,
And life’s losing be the winning
Of a true and better life.
Whom the HOLY GHOST endueth,
Whom celestial light imbueth,
Stephen penetrates the skies:
There GOD’s fullest glory viewing,
There his victor strength renewing,
For his near reward he sighs.
See, as Jewish foes invade thee,
See, how JESUS stands to aid thee:
Stands, to guard His champion’s death!
Cry that opened Heav’n is shown thee:
Cry that JESUS waits to own thee:
Cry it with thy latest breath!
As the dying Martyr kneeleth,
For his murderers he appealeth,
And his prayer their pardon sealeth,
For their madness grieving sore;
Then to CHRIST he sleepeth sweetly,
Who His pattern kept completely,
And with CHRIST he reigneth meetly,
Martyr first-fruits, evermore!
Adam of St. Victor. Of the life of this, the most prominent and prolific of the Latin hymnists of the Middle Ages, very little is known. It is even uncertain whether he was an Englishman or a Frenchman by birth. He is described by the writers nearest to his own epoch, as Brito, which may indicate a native of either Britain, or Brittany. All that is certainly known concerning him is, that about A.D. 1130, after having been educated at Paris, he became, as quite a young man, a monk in the Abbey of St. Victor, then in the suburbs, but afterwards through the growth of that city, included within the walls of Paris itself. In this abbey, which, especially at that period, was celebrated as a school of theology, he passed the whole of the rest of h… 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 >
Display Title: Yesterday, with ExultationFirst Line: Yesterday, with exultationTune Title: HERI MUNDUS EXULTAVITAuthor: Adam of St. Victor; John M. NealeMeter: 88.78.87Source: Translated from Latin to English by John M. Neale & the compilers of Hymns Ancient and Modern