The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Come, Divine Messiah!

Words: Abbé Simon J. Pellegrin, 1663-1745
English Translation of French Carol Venez Divin Messie
Translator: Sister Mary of St. Philip, SND

Music: 16th Century French Carol
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer
Meter: 78.76.888

Often played as a processional during Advent

1. O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

2. Dear Savior haste; [1]
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

3. O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

4. O Christ, whom nations sigh for, [2]
Whom priest and prophet long foretold, [3]
Come break the captive fetters; [4]
Redeem the long-lost fold.

5. Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

6. O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

7. You come in peace and meekness, [5]
And lowly will your cradle be;
All clothed in human weakness
Shall we your Godhead see.

8. Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

9. O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Notes:

1. Or: Sweet Savior Haste; Return

2. Or: O thou, whom nations sigh for Return

3. Or: priests and prophets Return

4. Or: Wilt break… Return

5: Or: Shalt come in peace… Return

On December 22, 2002, I received a kind email from John Uhrig, who included the following information concerning this hymn:

The English translation of "Venez, divin Messie" beginning "O come, divine Messiah" is by Sister Mary of St. Philip, SND, the name in religion of Mary Frances Lescher (1825-1904). She was one of the first English members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur when they established their training college at Mount Pleasant in Liverpool, England, in about 1850. She and at least one other SND sister wrote both translations and original hymns and songs over the course of their long professional lives. Although one of her colleagues, Sister Mary Xavier [née Sybil Farish Partridge (1856-1917)], actually published a compendium of her sacred and secular lyrics in 1903, Sister Mary of St. Philip does not seem to have done so, and it has proven very time consuming to try to track down the original sources of her writings. Although doubtless appearing in some British Roman Catholic publication initially, the translation you have given seems to be taken from the Peters’ Sodality Hymn Book, compiled and arranged by the Sisters of Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Ohio. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1872.

My thanks to Mr. Uhrig for sharing this information.