The star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Matthew 2:9–10
Words: Charles Coffin, Paris Breviary, 1736 (Linquunt Tecta Magi Principis Orbis). Translated from Latin to English by John C. Earle, 1883. Published in Annus Sanctus, Volume 1, edited by Orby Shipley (London & New York: Burns & Oates, 1884), pages 50–52.
Music: Ellacombe Gesangbuch der Herzogl. Wirtembergischen Katholischen Hofkapelle (Württemberg, Germany: 1784). Adapted & harmonized by William H. Monk in the 1868 appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern, number 366 (🔊 pdf nwc).
If you know where to get a good photo of Earle (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you send us an e-mail?
The princely city passing by,
The Magi turn to greet
The goal of all their toilsome march
In Bethlehem’s lowly street;
And while, from many tuneful lips,
Spontaneous anthems rise,
Triumphant faith takes wings of hope,
And wafts them to the skies.
Transporting joy, when once again
The star that they had lost,
With heav’nly light and promise bright,
Their eager pathway crossed;
Nor stayed its radiant course until
It took its golden rest,
Above the place where Jesus lay
Upon His mother’s breast.
No glint is here of ivory,
No blaze of burnished gold;
No purple robes the infant limbs
In gorgeous hues enfold:
His palace is a stable rude,
His throne a manger wild,
And raiment rough in web and woof,
The purple of that Child.
Let pomp and splendor other kings
For better proves He thus His reign
Supreme the Babe new born:
In peasant garb and culture mean,
He sways the realms of thought;
And ’neath the scepter of His will
The hearts of men are brought.
Beside the cradle where He sleeps,
They worship on their knees;
And in the Child the eye of faith
The present Godhead sees;
Let us, their offspring in the faith,
Adore the Infant here;
And offer Him our best of gifts,
Hearts filled with sacred fear.
Let chaste and ardent love supply
The gold of Eastern kings,
And bodies penance-chastened yield
The myrrh devotion brings:
Our vows and prayers, like frankincense
And myrrh, shall sweetly rise
To hail the Babe recumbent here
As ruler of the skies.
To God the Father, fount of light,
Be glory evermore;
To God the Son, whose light and grace
Extend from shore to shore,
Be equal glory given here
And in the realms above,
In never ending songs of praise
Commensurate with love.