The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Ah! How Humble Is Thy Birth

For Christmas

Words: Heu! quid jaces stabulo, John Mauburne (1460-1502), from Rosetum exercitiorum spiritualium et sacrarum meditationum, 1494,
an excerpt, Verses 4, 5, & 6, of Eia mea anima

Source: Daniel Joseph Donahoe, ed., Early Christian Hymns: Series II. Translations of the Verses of the Most Noted Latin Writers of the Early and Middle Ages (Donahoe Publishing Company, 1911), p. 171.


1. Ah! how humble is thy birth
    In the lowly manger,
Thou the Lord of heaven and earth,
    Weeping as a stranger;
If a King indeed art thou,
Where is all thy glory now?
    Where thy halls of splendor?
Here is nought but poverty,
Barren need and penury,
    Little child so tender.

2. "Hither hath a love sublime
    Drawn me down so lowly,
Love of man whose greed and crime
    Make the earth unholy.
I must suffer this disgrace
To uplift the human race,
    Out of woes distressing;
I must suffer want and pain,
To enrich your race, and gain
    Everlasting blessing."

3. Thee I praise, my King divine
    With a thousand praises;
Loving thoughts this love of thine
    In my bosom raises.
Glory, glory evermore
Be to thee from shore to shore,
    Lord of earth and heaven;
Honor unto thee and love
Through the earth and heaven above
    Be forever given.

Editor's Note:

Mr. Donahoe noted:

John Mauburne was born at Brussels in 1460, and was the author of a number of pleasant poems of a sacred nature. He died while Abbot of Livry, near Paris, in 1502.

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