The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Most Cruel Herod, Whence Does Spring

Vespers Breviary Hymn for the Epiphany

Words: Crudelis Herodes, Deum. Revised from Hostis Herodes Impie by Sedulius.

From the Primer, 1685

Source: Orby Shipley, Annus Sanctus: Hymns of the Church for the Ecclesiastical Year. Vol. 1. (London and New York: Burns and Oates, 1884), Appendix p. 20-22.

Most cruel Herod, whence does spring
Thy fear, lest Christ should come as king ?
He seizes not on realms below,
Who realms celestial does bestow.

The sages followed the bright
Preceding star they had in sight ;
By light to find our light they sought ;
They God confess, by gifts they brought.

The heavenly Lamb, though spotless, took
The baptism of a crystal brook ;
By washing us he cleansed the blot
Of sin, which he contracted not.

A novel kind of power he shows,
Ruddy the pitchers water grows,
Which bid by him to send forth wine,
The water changed its origin.

To thee be glory, Christ, who hast
Thy beams upon the Gentiles cast ;
The like unto the Father be,
And Holy Ghost eternally.

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