The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

For Christmas-tide

Words: Σιγησάτο πᾶσα σάρξ, the Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn from the Liturgy of Saint James, 4th Century
Translated from Greek to English by Gerard Moultrie, 1864.

Music: "Picardy," French carol melody
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer
Meter: 8 7 8 7

Source: Bernard Pick, ed., Hymns and Poetry of the Eastern Church (1908), pp.167-8.

1. Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded, for with blessing in his Hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.

2. King of kings, yet born of Mary, as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture in the body and the blood
He will give to all the faithful his own self for heavenly food.

3. Rank on rank the host of heaven spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of Light descendeth from the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish as the darkness clears away.

4. At his feet the six-winged seraph-cherubim, with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the Presence, as with ceaseless voice they cry,
"Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Lord Most High."

Note by Mr. Pick:

For the Holy Communion. This translation is found in the Orby Shipley, ed., Lyra Eucharistica: Hymns and Verses on the Holy Communion. Second Edition. (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1864), #100, p. 133, and Richard Frederick Littledale, ed., The People's Hymnal. Sixth Edition. (London: J. Masters and Co., 1878), #169, p.64.

Sheet Music "Confitemini Domino" by H. J. Stark from Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal. (London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885), #115, pp. 364-365.

Sheet music "Picardy" from The English Hymnal (Oxford University Press, 1906), #318, p. 450.
Picardy is a traditional French carol.
Meter: 87 87 87

Let_All_Mortal-Picardy-Eng_Hmnl-1906-318-p450.jpg (85122 bytes)

Sheet Music To "St. Thomas" from The English Hymnal (Oxford University Press, 1906). #31, p.55.

St_Thomas-Eng_Hmnl-1906-31-p55.jpg (82343 bytes)

Sheet Music to "Picardie," set to the lyrics "La Ballade De Jesus-Christ," from Champfleury and J. B. Weckerlin, eds., Chansons populaires des provinces de France (Paris: Garnier, 1860). p. 6.

Picardie-1860.jpg (49851 bytes)
Also available is Sheet Music to "Picardie" with lyrics "La Belle Est Au Jardin D'Amour" on pp. 3-4.

Editor's Note:

The "Cherubic Hymn" was chanted at the presentation of the bread and wine at the Offertory. According to some sources, it is still used in this fashion by Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem on the Sunday after Christmas.

The two pieces from The English Hymnal were arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958).

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