The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Great Forerunner of the Morn

For St. John The Baptist, June 24

Words: Praecursor altus luminis, A Cento Attributed to St. Bede, with notes
Translation by John Mason Neale

Music: Sixth melody of "Jam lucis" From the Salisbury Hymnal.
Harmonized by the Rev. S. S. Greatheed.
Meter: L.M.

Source: Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #97 (Combined Edition #92), pp. 110-111.

Isaiah xlix., 1."Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name."

1. a The great forerunner of the Morn,
b The Herald of the Word, is born ;
c And faithful hearts shall never fail
With thanks and praise his light to hail.

2. d With heav'nly message Gabriel came,
That John should be that herald's name ;
e And with prophetic utterance told
His actions great and manifold.

3. f John, still unborn, yet gave aright
His witness to the coming Light :
g And Christ fulfilled it, at His Birth,
Bight gloriously o'er all the earth.

4. h Of women born shall never be
A greater Prophet than was he :
i Whose mighty deeds exalt his fame
To greater than a Prophet's name.

5. k But why should mortal accents raise
The hymn of John the Baptist's praise ?
Of whom, or ere his course was run,
Thus spake the Father to the Son :

6. l Behold My herald, who shall go
Before Thy Face, Thy way to show :
m Shall shine, as with the Day-Star's gleam,
Before Thine own eternal beam.

7. All laud to God the Father be :
All laud, Eternal Son, to Thee :
All laud, as is for ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.

The Words of the Hymnal Noted Complete With Scriptural References (London: J. A. Novello and J. Masters, no date, circa 1856), pp. 110-111.

a. Mal. iii. 1. S. John v. 35. S. John i. 8. Return

b. S. John i. 15. Return

c. Psalm cxxxii. 17, 18. Return

d. S. Luke i. 13. Return

e. S. Luke i. 15. Return

f. S. Luke i. 41. Return

g. S. John v. 36. Return

h. S. Matt. xi. 11. Return

i. S. Matt. xi. 9. Return

k. l Cor. iv. 3. Return

l. S. Matt. iii. 3. Return

m. S. Luke i. 78. Return

Sheet Music from Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #97, pp110-111.

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Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), #97, pp. 322-323.

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Note.

According to a note in Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), p. iv-v, this hymn is a cento from the Venerable Bede.

A Clerk Of Oxford reprinted 16 Latin verses on her blog; see The Great Forerunner of the Morn.

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