The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

From Where The Rising Sun Goes Forth

Hymn on the Nativity, At Lauds

For Christmas

Words: A Solis Ortus Cardine-Purification
Altered from A Solis Ortus Cardine, with notes

Translation by William J. Copeland, Alt.

Source: Philip Schaff, Christ in Song. Volume 1 of 2. A New Edition, Revised and Enlarged. (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1895), "From Where The Rising Sun Goes Forth," pp. 40-43.

  1. From where the rising sun goes forth
    To where he spans the utmost earth
    Proclaim we Chr1st our King, this morn
    Of Mary Virgin-mother born:

  2. All climes unite in common voice;
    Judea, Rome, and Greece rejoice;
    Thrace, Egypt, Persia, Scythia, now
    To one sole King's dominion bow.

  3. All, all, confess your Lord and King;
    Redeemed and lost, His praises sing;
    Health, sickness, life, and death adore;
    All live in Him, they die no more.

  4. His beauteous portal, full of grace,
    Is hallowed for the King to pass;
    The King doth pass: the folded door
    Abideth folded as before.

  5. Son of the Father's Might Divine,
    Proceeding from His Virgin-shrine,
    Maker, Redeemer, Bridegroom, He
    The Giant of His Church shall be.

  6. Of Mother-maid the light and joy,
    Of all believers hope most high,
    He the dark cup of death shall drain
    Ere He unloose our guilty chain.

  7. Fair Stone, cut out from mountain-height,
    Filling the world with grace and light,
    Whom, by no hand of mortal hewn,
    The ancient sages had foreshown :3

  8. Tis done, what herald-angel said,
    He, the True Word, true flesh is made,
    A Virgin-birth of Virgin-womb,
    Virgin of virgins, Chr1st is come.

  9. The skies have shed the dew from heaven,
    The outpouring clouds the Just One given,
    Earth's open lap receives the birth,
    And brings the Lord the Sav1our forth.

  10. Oh! 'twas a wondrous travail there
    When Him, the Chr1st, the Virgin bare,
    So bare the birth, the Offspring pure,
    As Ever-virgin to endure.

  11. Creator He of all the race,
    For whom creation hath no place,
    Hath found, chaste Mother, where to dwell,
    Hath shrined Him in thy sacred cell:

  12. Whom Sire most High, when time was not,
    God Very God of God begot,
    The bosom chaste of Mother mild
    In time doth bear a new-born Child.


1 An allusion to the porta clausa, Ezek. xliv. 1-3, which was understood of the womb of the Virgin. This is one of the earliest testimonies of the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary, which subsequently became a dogma of the Greek and Roman-Catholic Churches, and is held also by many Protestant divines, although it cannot be proved from the New Testament.

2 Su gigas ecclesic refers to the double nature of Christ, in allusion to the mystical interpretation of the giants, Gen. vi. 4. Comp. gemina gigas substanti, in Ambrose's "Veni, Redemptor Gentium." line 15 (see p. 10).

3 Dan. ii. 34; Isa. xxviii. 16; Eph. ii. 20; 1 Cor. iii. 11; 1 Pet. ii. 4, 6, 7.

Note from Rev. Schaff.

St. Ambrose of Milan, 397 (altered). The original, as given by DanielThesaurus Hymnologicus, I. p. 21 [A solis ortus cardine - An Ambrosian Nativity Hymn], has fifty-six lines, but only a part of it (vers. 4, 5, 6) has passed into ecclesiastical use. The beginning is borrowed from Ps. cxii. 3: "A solis ortu usque ad occasum laudabile nomen." ["From the rising of the sun, even to its setting, praiseworthy is the name of the Lord." New American Standard Bible.]

Note from Editor:

In this version, Schaff has omitted verses 11 and 14 that were in the original publication of this hymn by W. J. Copeland, ed., Hymns for the Week, and Hymns for the Seasons. Translated from the Latin. (London: W. J. Cleaver and John Henry Parker, 1848), pp. 166-169. See: From Where The Rising Sun Goes Forth - Copeland.

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