The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Ah, Wherefore Do The Impious Jews

For St. Stephen's Day

Latin: Quid, obstinata pectora, No. 44.

Source: Rev. John Chandler, The Hymns of the Primitive Church (London: John W. Parker, 1837), pp. 50-51.

Ah, wherefore do the impious Jews
    Again their God defy ?
Their holy teacher they refuse,
    And drag him forth to die.

At him they dare, with ruthless hands,
    To cast the murderous stone,
While Saul, their chief, insulting stands,
    And makes their crime his own.

But, lo ! before the martyr's eye
    The starry poles are riven;
He sees his Lord enthroned on high,
    At God's right hand in heaven.

Thus ever thou wilt give thy might
    To all thy saints, O Lord !
Thyself the witness of the fight,
    Thyself their great reward.

Oh ! Stephen's was a glorious death,
    Allowed for Christ to die :
His body sank the stones beneath,
    His soul was in the sky.

For even then his ardent mind,
    Filled with excess of light,
No longer was to earth confined,
    But winged its upward flight.

The Father's name we loudly raise,
    The Son we all adore ;
The Holy Ghost, one God, we praise,
    Both now and evermore.

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