Latinised Hymns

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dew-drops are shining;
Low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
Odours of Edom, and offerings divine,
Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would his favour secure:
Richer by far is the heart's adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Bishop Heber

Optima splendida lux matutina,
pelle tenebras et alma nite,
solis et ortui stella vicina,
parvus ubi cubet ille doce.

Roscida frigora gutta iacenti.
inter ovesque bovesque tulit
laudem angelicam accipienti,
qui creat et regit et redimit.

Dicite, balsamum orientale,
gemma de colle vel oceano,
gaza metallica, tus nemorale,
dentur idonea dona Deo?

Nec tamen haec satis ampla tributa,
neque favoris erunt pretium
grata Deo veneratio muta.
et placuere preces inopum.

MM 18–21.4.98