The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Of The Father Sole Begotten

Evening Hymn from the Nativity till Epiphany

Words: Corde Natus Ex Parentis, Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-413)
Translation by Rev.
John Mason Neale

Music: Melody from a MS. at Wolfenbüttel of the XIIIth Century

Source: John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted Part II (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1856), #66, pp. 132-133.

1. Of the Father sole begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He the Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

2. He is here, Whom seers in old time
Chanted of, while ages ran;
Whom the writing of the Prophets
Promised since the world began:
Then foretold, now manifested,
To receive the praise of man,
Evermore and evermore!

3. O that ever-blessed birthday,
When the Virgin, full of grace,
Of the Holy Ghost incarnate
Bare the Savior of our race;
And that Child, the world’s Redeemer,
First displayed His Sacred Face,
Evermore and evermore!

4. Praise Him, O ye Heav'ns of Heavens!
Praise Him, Angels in the height!
Every Power and every Virtue
Sing the praise of God aright:
Let no tongue of man be silent,
Let each heart and voice unite,
Evermore and evermore!

5. Thee let age, and Thee let manhood,
Thee let choirs of infants sing;
Thee the matrons and the virgins,
And the children answering:
Let their modest song re-echo,
And their heart its praises bring,
Evermore and evermore!

6. Laud and honour to the Father!
Laud and honour to the Son!
Laud and honour to the Sprit!
Ever Three and ever One:
Consubstantial, Coeternal,
While unending ages run,
Evermore and evermore! Amen.

Sheet Music from John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted. Part II. (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1856), #66, pp. 132-133.

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Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, ed., Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part II. (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1858), pp. 214-215.

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Sheet Music from Rev. G. R. Woodward, ed., Piæ Cantiones (London: Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910), #XX, "Divinium Mysterium," p. 29.

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Sheet Music from Rev. G. R. Woodward, ed., Songs of Syon. 3rd Edition, Revised and Enlarged. (London: Schott & Co., 1910), #22, p. 24. Described as "York Melody (Trochaic, 8.7.8.7.8.7.7.)," Mode iij.

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Sheet Music from Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal (London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885), p. 36.

"Corde Natus" - Two Versions

Sheet Music from Charles Robinson, and Edward Judson, eds., The New Laudes Domini (New York: The Century Company, 1892), #345 & #345, p. 141.

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#345 is three verses of "Of The Father's Love Begotten," including 2. "At his word the worlds were framed," and 3. "He is found in human fashion."

#346 is three verses beginning with the verse "He is here, whom seers in old time," plus 2. "Praise him, O ye heaven of heavens" and 3. Thee let age, and thee let manhood."

Translations of the Latin lyrics include:

Editor's Note.

The Latin text was an excerpt from the 9th Hymn in Prudentius' Cathemerinon, a series of 12 hymns celebrating the Hours and the seasons of the Church. The 9th Hymn is "Hymnus Omnis Horae", that is "Hymn For All Hours" (R. Martin Pope, trans.). The first line of this hymn is "Da puer plectrum, choreis ut canam fidelibus", translated by R. Martin Pope as "Let me chant in sacred numbers, as I strike each sounding string." The first eight verses above correspond to verses 4-9, 36, and 37 of this hymn. The 9th verse is a doxology. The translation used is from the Project Gutenberg EBook of "The Hymns of Prudentius."

The music editor of Hymnal Noted, Thomas Helmore, added the following note concerning this hymn in the Appendix, p. v, of Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted (1858):

"Of the Father sole begotten. Corde natus ex Parentis. A cento from the 9th hymn of the Cathemerinon of Prudentius. It is not in the Sarum Hymnal, but occurs in different forms in the York and in the Hereford: our version is from the former. A. 157. B. 14, C. 122, G. 19, H. 352."

The letters and numbers in this note refer to the page numbers of the following reference works:

A. Hymnale secundum usum insignis. Littlemore: Masson, 1850
B. Hymnarium Sarisburiense. 1851
C. Thesaurus Hymnologicus. Daniel. I. 1841
G. Elucidatorium Ecclesiasticum. 1519
H. Hymnarium. Ed. Josephus Maria Carolus Thomasius. 1741.

I've been unable to locate a York Hymnal, however, there is a Hereford hymnal. There is both a York Breviary and a Hereford Breviary. Both are Latin.

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