The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Wisdom! Of the Father Bred

For Advent

Words: Veni, Veni, Emanuel (the "O" Antiphons),
Authorship Unknown, 8th Century Latin;
Published: Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, Köln, 1710.

Translation by Dom Samuel Gregory Ould

Music: "Veni Emmanuel," 15th Century French Plain Song melody,
Arranged and harmonized by Thomas Helmore in
Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)
Based on a 15th Century French Processional
(Some sources give a Gregorian, 8th Century origin.)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Meter: 88 88 88

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: Dom Samuel Gregory Ould and William Sewell, eds., The Book of Hymns with Tunes (London: Cary & Co., 1913), Hymn 5, "O Wisdom! Of the Father bred," pp. 6-7.

1. December 17. O Sapientia.

O Wisdom! Of the Father bred,
How strong, how sweet Thy sway!
Come teach our wayward feet to tread
The strait and narrow way.


Mystic dew from heaven
Unto Earth is given:
Break, O earth, a Saviour yield –
Fairest Flower of the Field.

2. December 18. O Adonai.

O Adonai! Thou shalt Lead
Thy people as of old;
Though now with hand outstretched to plead
And win us to Thy fold. Refrain.

3. December 19. O Radix Jessie.

O Root of Jesse! Fruitful tree:
Before Thy royal sign
All men shall bow on bended knee,
And kings their crowns resign. Refrain

4. December 20. O Clavis David.

O Key of David! Set us fee
From sin's dark prison-place:
Be Thou our Conqueror! And we
The captives of Thy grace!

5. December 21. O Oriens.

O Orient! Arise and make
The darksome valleys bright,
And from their deathly slumber wake
Our souls to greet Thy light.

6. December 22. O Rex Gentium.

O King of Nations! 'Fore Thy throne
Shall Jew and Gentile pray:
O longed-for Saviour, save Thine own,
Whom Thou hast formed from clay.

7. December 23. O Emmanuel.

Law-giver! Lord of Israel!
Thine own Messiah send
Whom men shall call Emmanuel –
God-with-us, till the end.

Sheet music for "O Wisdom! Of the Father bred" from Dom Samuel Gregory Ould and William Sewell, eds., The Book of Hymns with Tunes (London: Cary & Co., 1913), Hymn 5, pp. 6-7.

O_Wisdom-Ould-Bk_Hms-1913-5-pp6.jpg (74016 bytes)

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