Scripture Verse

Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John…Many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. Luke 1:13–14


Words: Paul the Dea­con, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Ut queant lax­is re­so­na­re fib­ris). Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Richard E. Roberts in The Eng­lish Hym­nal (Lon­don: Ox­ford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 223.

Music: Is­te Con­fess­or Poi­ti­ers An­ti­phon­er, 1746 (🔊 pdf nwc).


Let thine ex­am­ple, ho­ly John, re­mind us,
Ere we can meet­ly sing thy deeds of won­der,
Hearts must be chast­ened, and the bonds that bind us
Broken asun­der!

Lo! a swift an­gel, from the skies des­cend­ing,
Tells to thy fa­ther what shall be thy nam­ing;
All thy life’s great­ness to its bit­ter end­ing
Duly pro­claim­ing.

But when he doubt­ed what the an­gel told him
Came to him dumb­ness to con­firm the sto­ry;
At thine ap­pear­ing, healed again be­hold him,
Chanting thy glo­ry!

Oh! what a splen­dor and a re­ve­la­tion
Came to each mo­ther, at thy joy­ful leap­ing,
Greeting thy mon­arch, king of ev­ery na­tion,
In the womb sleep­ing.

Angels in or­ders ev­er­last­ing praise Thee,
God, in Thy tri­une ma­jes­ty tre­men­dous,
Hark to the pray­ers we, pe­ni­tents, up­raise Thee:
Save and de­fend us.

Zacharias and Gabriel
Austrian/German School, circa 1800
Wikimedia Commons