The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Gabriel, From The Heaven Descending

For Christmas

Words: "Missus Gabriel de cúlis," Adam of S. Victor, ca. 1192
Translation: Rev. John Mason Neale, Medieval Hymns & Sequences. Third Edition. (1867)

Music: "Quem Pastores Laudavere," German Melody, Breslau, 1555
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML

Meter: 88 87

Source: J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #54, pp. 84-5.

1. Gabriel, from the Heaven descending,
On the faithful Word attending,
Is in holy converse blending
With the Virgin full of grace:
    That good word and sweet he plighteth
    In the bosom where it lighteth,
    And for Eva Ave writeth,
    Changing Eva's name and race.

2. At the promise that he sendeth
God the Incarnate Word descendeth;
Yet no carnal touch offendeth
Her, the undefiled one.
    She, without a father, beareth,
    She no bridal union shareth,
    And a painless birth declareth
    That she bare the Royal Son.

3. Tale that wondering search entices!
But believe, ó and that suffices;
It is not for man's devices
Here to pry with gaze unmeet:
    High the sign, its place assuming
    In the bush, the unconsuming:
    Mortal, veil thine eyes presuming,
    Loose thy shoes from off thy feet.

4. As the rod, by wondrous power,
Moistened not by dew or shower,
Bare the almond and the flower,
Thus He came, the Virgin's Fruit:
    Hail the Fruit, O world, with gladness!
    Fruit of joy and not of sadness:
    Adam had not lapsed to madness
    Had he tasted of its shoot.

5. Jesus, kind above all other,
Gentle Child of gentle Mother,
In the stable born our Brother,
Whom the angelic hosts adore:
    He, once cradled in a manger,
    Heal our sin and calm our danger;
    For our life, to this world stranger,
    Is in peril evermore. Amen.

Sheet Music from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #53, p. 84.

"Original Melody of the XIVth Century.
Harmony from
Dr. F. Layriz"

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