Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Seasonal Hymns: Holy Days 331-340

Holy Days
Conception of St. Mary the Virgin
Maiden yet a mother – D Alighieri

Maiden yet a mother,
Daughter of thy Son,
High beyond all other,
Lowlier is none;
Thou the consummation
Planning by God’s decree,
When our lost creation
Nobler rose in thee!

Thus his day prepared,
He who all things made
‘mid his creature tarried,
In thy bosom laid;
There his love he nourished,
Warmth that gave increase
To the root whence flourished
Our eternal peace.

Noon on Zion’s mountain
Is thy charity;
Hope its living fountain
Find, on earth, in thee:
Lady, such thy power,
He, who grace would buy
Not as of thy dower,
Without wings would fly.

St. Thomas
How oft, O Lord, thy face hath shone – W Bright

How oft, O Lord, thy face hath shone
on doubting souls whose wills were true!
Thou Christ of Cephas and of John,
thou art the Christ of Thomas too.

He loved thee well, and calmly said,
"Come, let us go, and die with him:"
yet when thine Easter-news was spread,
'mid all its light his eyes were dim.

His brethren's word he would not take,
but craved to touch those hands of thine:
the bruised reed thou didst not break;
he saw and hailed his Lord Divine.

He saw thee risen; at once he rose
to full belief's unclouded height;
and still through his confession flows
to Christian souls thy life and light.

O Savior, make thy presence known
to all who doubt thy word thee;
and teach them in that word alone
to find the truth that sets them free.

And we who know how true thou art,
and thee as God and Lord adore,
give us, we pray, a loyal heart,
to trust and love thee more and more.

St. Stephen
When Stephen, full of power and grace – J Struther

When Stephen, full of power and grace,
Went forth throughout the land,
He bore no shield before his face,
No weapon in his hand;
But only in his heart a flame
And on his lips a sword
Wherewith he smote and overcame
The foemen of the Lord.

When Stephen preached against the laws
And by those laws was tried,
He had no friend to plead his cause,
No spokesman at his side;
But only in his heart a flame
And in his eyes a light
Wherewith God's daybreak to proclaim
And rend the veils of night.

When Stephen, young and doomed to die,
Fell crushed beneath the stones,
He had no curse nor vengeful cry
For those who broke his bones;
But only in his heart a flame
And on his lips a prayer
That God, in sweet forgiveness' name
Should understand and spare.

Let me, O Lord, thy cause defend,
A knight without a sword;
No shield I ask, no faithful friend,
No vengeance, no reward;
But only in my heart a flame
And in my soul a dream,
So that the stones of earthly shame
A jewelled crown may seem.

Good King Wenceslas – J Neale
Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.
Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
underneath the mountain,
right against the forest fence
by Saint Agnes fountain.
Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
when we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
forth they went together
through the rude wind's wild lament
and the bitter weather.
Sire, the night is darker now,
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how -
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps good, my page,
tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly.

St. John
Praise God for John, evangelist – F Janzow

Holy Innocents
When Christ was born in Bethlehem – L Houseman
When Christ was born in Bethlehem,
fair peace on earth to bring,
in lowly state of love he came
to be the children's King.

A mother's heart was there his throne,
his orb a maiden's breast,
whereby he made through love alone
his kingdom manifest.

And round him, then, a holy band
of children blest was born,
fair guardians of his throne to stand
attendant night and morn.

And unto them this grace was given
a Savior's name to own,
and die for him who out of heaven
had found on earth a throne.

O blessèd babes of Bethlehem,
who died to save our King,
you shared the Martyr's diadem,
and in their anthem sing!

Your lips, on earth that never spake,
now sound the eternal word;
and in the courts of love you make
your children's voices heard.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal Child,
make thou our childhood thine;
that we with these the meek and mild
may share the love divine.

In Bethlehem a newborn boy – R Herklots

 Circumcision – Holy Name
The ancient law departs – S Besnault / Hymns Ancient and Modern trans

The ancient law departs,
and all its terrors cease;
for Jesus makes with faithful hearts
a covenant of peace.

The Light of Light divine,
true brightness undefiled,
he bears for us the shame of sin,
a holy, spotless Child.

Today the Name is thine,
at which we bend the knee;
they call thee Jesus, Child divine!
our Jesus deign to be.

Now greet the swiftly changing year – J Vajda trans

O God, whom neither time nor space – H Smith

O God, whom neither time nor space
can limit, hold, or bind,
look down from heaven, thy dwelling place,
with love for humankind.

Another year its course has run;
thy loving care renew:
forgive the ill that we have done,
the good we failed to do.

In doubt or danger, all our days,
be near to guard us still;
let all our thoughts and all our ways
be governed by thy will.

O help us here on earth to live
from selfish passions free;
to us at last in mercy give
eternal life with thee.

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