Words: Caelius Sedulius, 5th Century (A Solis Ortus Cardine). Translated from Latin to English by Richard Mant, Ancient Hymns from the Roman Breviary (London: J. G. & F. Rivington, 1837), number 32, alt. Original first line:
From the faint dayspring’s eastern goal.
From dayspring’s faintest eastern goal
Far as the utmost west,
Come, sing we Christ, the Savior born
Of virgin mother blest:
The Father of the age to come,
In servant’s form arrayed,
That Man He might for man atone,
And ransom whom He made.
Within that mother’s spotless frame
Celestial favor reigns,
A secret load, she weened not of,
The maiden pure sustains:
Her bosom chaste at once becomes
The temple for her God;
And she, who knew not man, is made
A heavenly Babe’s abode.
He comes, He comes, the virgin-born
To Gabriel’s promise true;
He, whom, as yet unborn, o’erjoyed
The unborn Baptist knew:
Nor reeks He of His bed of hay,
Nor He the manger heeds;
Enough the milky breast for Him,
Who all the ravens feeds.
A shepherd to the shepherds’ fold
The Lord of all is showed,
Celestial choristers rejoice,
And angels sing to God.
Now glory, Jesus, be to Thee,
Whom a pure virgin bore,
With Father, and with Holy Ghost,
Henceforth for evermore.