The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Deep Hidden, By Divine Decree

In Advent: At The Vespers

At the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come; it will not tarry.—Hab. ii.

"Statuta decreto Dei"

Source: Isaac Williams, Hymns Translated from the Parisian Breviary (London: J.G.F. & J. Rivington, 1839),  pp. 46-48.

 Deep hidden, by divine decree, 
In the dark womb of destiny, 
The long delaying day appears, 
And shines through clouds of rolling years 
    From the descending sky. 

By crimes parental helpless made, 
Were Adam's offspring wounded laid, 
And far within yon gloomy vale 
Sat lost, in sorrow's twilight pale, 
    And death's o'erhanging shade; 

That second death of deathless shame; 
The death of everlasting flame; 
While on the brow, by Terror writ, 
Did dismal Expectation sit 
    At Judgment's awful name. 

Alas! for downfall so profound 
Who shall bring help? whence shall abound 
Succour and hope? what hand shall be 
Meet for the mighty remedy 
    Of that o'erwhelming wound? 

O Christ, 'tis Thou, 'tis Thou alone, 
Descending from Thy Godhead's throne, 
The tarnish'd lineaments once more 
To Thy lost image canst restore, 
    Thy children to Thy bosom own. 

Rain down, ye overhanging skies! 
Lost earth looks up with yearning eyes, 
And when the Just One shall have come 
Into her long-expectant womb, 
    From her Salvation shall arise. 

To Thee, to clothe Thee with our shame, 
Who from Thy Father's bosom came, 
The Word incarnate; and to Thee, 
Father, and Spirit, One and Three, 
    Praise everlasting to Thy name.

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