Scripture Verse

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1–2


John Keble

Words: John Ke­ble, 1856, cento.

Music: Tantum Ergo Sam­u­el Webbe, Motetts or Antiphons 1792 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Samuel Webbe, Sr.


Word supreme, before creation
Born of God eternally,
Who didst will for our salvation
To be born on earth, and die;
Well Thy saints have kept their station,
Watching till Thine hour is nigh.

Now ’tis come and faith espies Thee;
Like an eaglet in the morn,
One in steadfast worship eyes Thee;
Thy beloved, Thy latest born;
In Thy glory he descries Thee
Reigning from the tree of scorn.

He upon Thy bosom lying
Thy true tokens learned by heart;
And Thy dearest pledge in dying,
Lord, Thou didst to him impart;
Show’dst him how, all grace supplying,
Blood and water from Thee start.

He first hoping and believing
Did beside the grave adore;
Latest he, the warfare leaving,
Landed on the eternal shore;
And his witness we receiving
Own Thee Lord forevermore.

Much he asked in loving wonder,
On Thy bosom leaning, Lord!
In that secret place of thunder,
Answer kind didst Thou accord,
Wisdom for Thy church to ponder
Till the day of dread award.

Lo! Heav’n’s doors lift up, revealing
How Thy judgments earthward move;
Scrolls unfolded, trumpets pealing,
Wine cups from the wrath above,
Yet o’er all a soft voice stealing—
Little children, trust and love!

Thee, the almighty king eternal,
Father of the eternal Word;
Thee, the Father’s Word supernal,
Thee, of both, the breath adored;
Heaven, and earth, and realms infernal
Own, one glorious God and Lord.