The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Wisdom That Proceedest From The Mouth of the Most High

For Advent

Words: Veni, Veni, Emanuel (the "O" Antiphons),
Authorship Unknown, 8th Century Latin;
Published As A Hymn in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, 7th Edition, Kφln, 1710.

Translator: Everard Green

Music: "Veni Emmanuel," Based on a 15th Century French Processional,
Arranged by Rev. Thomas Helmore  and harmonized by Rev. S. S. Greatheed in
Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)

Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted-Part II
(London: 1858)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Meter: 88 88 88

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: Everard Green, F.S.A., "On the words 'O Sapientia' in the Kalendar," from Archaelogia, Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity, Vol. 49. (London: Nichols and Sons for the Society of Antiquaries of London, 1885) pp. 223-229.

I. — O Sapientia.

O Wisdom, that proceedest from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end ; mightily and sweetly disposing all things : Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

II. — O Adonaο.

O Adonaο, and Leader of the House of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and gavest to him the Law on Sinai : Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.

III. — O Radix.

O Root of Jesse, Who standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall be silent, to whom the nations shall pray : Come, and deliver us, tarry not.

IV.— O Clavis David.

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, Who openest and no man shutteth, Who shuttest and no man openeth : Come, and bring him who is bound out of the prison-house, who sitteth in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

V. — O Oriens.

O Orient, Splendour of Eternal Light, and Sun of Justice : Come, and illuminate those who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

VI. — O Rex Gentium.

O King of the Nations, and their desire, O Corner-stone, Who makest both one : Come, and save man, whom Thou didst form from the dust of the earth.

VII. — O Emmanuel.

O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, the Expectation of the Nations and their Saviour : Come, and save us, 0 Lord our God.

VIII. — O Virgo Virginum.

O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this come to pass ? For neither before thee appeared any like unto thee ; nor shall there be one to follow thee. Daughters of Jerusalem, why look ye wondering at me ? This is a divine mystery that ye behold.

IX. — O Gabriel.

O Gabriel, Ambassador of Heaven, who camest to me when the doors were shut, and didst announce unto me the Word: "Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son : He shall be called Emmanuel."

X. — O Rex Pacifice.

O King of Peace, born before all ages, come by the Golden Gate, visit Thy redeemed, and call them back to the place from whence by sin they fell.

XI. — O Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, City of the Great God, lift up thine eyes round about, and see the Lord thy God, who now cometh to loose thee from thy chains.

XII. — O Mundi Domina.

O Lady of the World, sprung of Royal Race, now hath Christ come forth from thy womb as a bridegroom from His chamber : Here lieth He in the crib who ruleth the stars.

On p. 227, Mr. Green inserted another Antiphon, which was described as an alternative to O mundi Domini at some locations:

XIII. — O beata Infantia

O Blessed Childhood, by which is made anew the life of our race. O wailing sweet and loveable, whereby we have escaped everlasting wailings. O happy swaddling bands, wherewith we have wiped off the soil of sin. 0 royal manger, wherein, not only lay the hay of beasts, but where, too, was found the food of Angels.

XIV. — O Thoma Didyme.

O Thomas Didymus, by that Christ whom it was vouchsafed to thee to touch ; fervently we cry unto thee and say, Help us, miserable sinners, lest we be condemned with the ungodly at the coming of the Judge.

XV. — O Summe Artifex.

O Great Architect, and most high Ruler of the Heavens ; come down to men, sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

XVI. — O Sancte Sanctorum.

O Holy of Holies, Mirror without spot of the majesty of God and image of His goodness : Come, blot out iniquity, and bring back everlasting justice.

XVII. — O Pastor Israel.

O Shepherd of Israel, and Ruler in the House of David, whose going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity : Come, and feed Thy people in strength, and reign in justice and judgment.

XVIII. — O Bone Pastor.

O Good Shepherd, who seekest and visitest the sheep : Come, and free them in all places whither they were scattered in the days of clouds and darkness.

XIX. — O Bone Pastor visita.

O Good Shepherd, Visit Thy flock, seek the strayed, raise up the fallen, strengthen the weak, and so feed in justice the sheep which Thou bearest upon Thy shoulders, and bring them to the fountains of living water.

XX. — O Domine fac mirabilis.

O Lord, work great marvels, Thy faithful counsels of old : let the Virgin bring forth a Son : let the Woman bruise the serpent's head: for this shall be a memorial of Thy Name when the hand of the Woman hath cast him down.


I have assigned different numbers than Mr. Green, who did not assign a number to the antiphon O beata Infantia and who assigned the same number to the two O Bone Pastor antiphons.

Mr. Green introduced these translations with this comment:

Each great " O " I have attempted to translate into the most forcible English at my command, and shall be only too glad  "to correct in any part or all."

Mr. Green observed that the 4th Antiphon, O Clavis David, "is thus mentioned in the 14th chapter of the life of our countryman, the great Alcuin, who was born at York, and who died at Tours on Wednesday of the year 804." Green, p. 223.

This was a paper read before the Society on December 11, 1884.

The initials F.S.A. stands for "Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries."

Mr. Green also noted "An old English metrical translation of the eight Great O's of the Sarum Breviary is given in the Appended Note (E) to this Paper." See: O Sapiencia of the Ffader.

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