The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Bethlehem, Not The Least Of Cities

For Epiphany

Words: O sola magnarum urbium, Cathemerinon ("The Hymns of Prudentius"), Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-405)
The Edward Caswall translation, altered.
Translator Unknown

Source: "In Excelsis” (Century Co., 1897), #214 , pp. 162-3.
Text only; no music. See below.

See notes under Earth Has Many A Noble City

1. Bethl'hem, not the least of cities,
None can e'er with thee compare ;
Thou alone the Lord from heaven
Didst for us incarnate bear.

2. Fairer than the sun at morning
Shone the star that told His birth,
To the lands their God announcing,
Veiled beneath a form of earth.

3. By its lambent beauty guided
Eastern kings their wealth unfold ;
Bending low their gifts they offer,
Gifts of incense, myrrh, and gold.

4. Offerings of mystic meaning :
Incense doth the God disclose ;
Gold the King of kings proclaimeth ;
Myrrh the future tomb foreshows.

5 Holy Jesus, in Thy brightness
To the gentile world displayed
With the Father, and the Spirit,
Endless praise to Thee be paid.

Sheet Music "Morning" by J. B. Dykes from William Cooke, et al, eds., The Hymnary (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., 1872), #166, p. 140.


This hymnal is also found in the Internet Archive: In Excelsis. A copy is also available from the Internet Archive: The Hymnary. No copy of that hymnal was available from Google Books.

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