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.