The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Be The Tidings

For Christmas

Words: Erroneously attributed to S. Bernard of Clairvaux (died 1153)

Music: Laetabundus

Compare: Faithful People (Terry, A Medieval Carol Book)

Source: John Mason Neale, MediŠval Hymns and Sequences (London: Joseph Masters, 1851), pp 49-51.

1. Be the Tidings
By the Choir of Faithful bruited!
Alleluia!
Monarchs' Monarch
Sprang from maiden unpolluted:
Mighty wonder!

2. Angel of the Counsel, He
From a Virgin deigned to be,
Sun from star :
Sun, that never knoweth night :
Star than stars most clear and bright
Clearer far.

3. As a star evolves a ray
Thus the Virgin, this blest day,
Bare The Child :
Nor the star by ray sent forth,
Nor the Virgin by that Birth
Was defiled.

4. Lebanon's tall cedar now
To the hyssop deigns to bow
Here below :
Word, That all to being spake,
Incarnation for our sake
Deigned to know.

5. Though Isaiah tell the deed.
Though the Synagogue may read,
Yet thereof she takes no heed
Ever blind.
If she do her prophets wrong,
Spurning all the witness throng,
Still the deed in Sibyl's song
Let her find.

6. Turn, Judea ! and repent !
Credit ancient prophets sent :
Why upon destruction bent,
Wretched race ?
Own the Monarch by the tongue
Of the Seers in old time sung,
Own Him from a Virgin sprung
Full of grace !

Note From Rev. Neale:

This sequence, or Hymn, for while it was used abroad as the former, in England it was employed as the latter, of rare perfection in its kind, and perhaps as widely known as any hymn of the Church, is S. Bernard's. It was appropriated to the Festival of the Assumption, though clearly intended for that of Christmas.

Editor's Note:

Subsequent research has determined that this hymn was not written by S. Bernard of Clairvaux (died 1153, according to Rev. Neale).

Also see by Neale and Helmore,  Full of Gladness, Let Our Faithful Choir from The Hymnal Noted, Parts 1 and II. (London & New York: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1851), Hymn #94 (or 89), pp. 184-185. Additional music is from Helmore's Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1852), pp. 307-311.

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