Scripture Verse

The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26–7


Words: At­trib­ut­ed (some say in­cor­rect­ly) to Ad­am of St. Vic­tor (Mis­sus Ga­bri­el de coel­is). It ap­pears in a ma­nu­script, cir­ca 1199, in the Bib­lio­thèque Na­tio­nale, Pa­ris. Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, Med­ie­val Hymns, sec­ond edi­tion, 1863, page 137.

Music: Quem Pas­tor­es me­lo­dy in a ma­nu­script from Hoh­en­furth (now Vyš­ší Brod, Czech­ia), 1410 (🔊 pdf nwc).

John M. Neale (1818–1866)


The Angel Speaking to Mary
Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible, 1902

Gabriel, from the Hea­ven des­cend­ing,
On the faith­ful Word at­tend­ing,
Is in ho­ly con­verse blend­ing
With the vir­gin full of grace:

That good word and sweet he plight­eth
In the bo­som where it light­eth,
And for Eva Ave writeth,
Changing Eva’s name and race.

At the pro­mise that he send­eth
God the In­carnate Word des­cend­eth;
Yet no car­nal touch of­fend­eth
Her, the un­de­fil­èd one.

She, with­out a fa­ther, bear­eth,
She no brid­al un­ion shar­eth,
And a pain­less birth de­clar­eth
That she bare the roy­al Son.

Tale that won­dering search en­tic­es!
But be­lieve—and that suf­fic­es;
It is not for man’s de­vic­es
Here to pry with gaze un­meet:

High the sign, its place as­sum­ing
In the bush, the un­co­nsum­ing:
Mortal, veil thine eyes pre­sum­ing,
Loose thy shoes from off thy feet.

As the rod, by won­drous pow­er,
Moistened not by dew or show­er,
Bare the al­mond and the flow­er,
Thus He came, the vir­gin’s fruit:

Hail the Fruit, O world, with glad­ness!
Fruit of joy and not of sad­ness:
Adam had not lapsed to mad­ness
Had he tast­ed of its shoot.

Jesus, kind above all other,
Gentle Child of gen­tle mo­ther,
In the sta­ble born our bro­ther,
Whom the an­gel­ic hosts adore:

He, once cra­dled in a man­ger,
Heal our sin and calm our dan­ger;
For our life, to this world stran­ger,
Is in per­il ev­er­more.