The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Oh, May My God, Whom Shade, And Night

St. John The Evangelist's Day: At the Mattins.

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him. Rev. xiv.

Latin Text: Quem nox, quem tenebrae, densaque nubila

Source: Isaac Williams, Hymns Translated from the Parisian Breviary (London: J.G.F. & J. Rivington, 1839), pp. 67-68.

Oh, may my God, whom shade, and night, 
    And folded cloud 
In viewless brightness rob'd, enshroud, 
In mercy veil His fearful light, 
Nor whelm His servant's trembling sight! 

Belov'd of God, to thee 'twas given
    Unscath'd to see 
The blaze of present Deity; 
To see the veil in sunder riven, 
And search the inmost court of Heaven. 

Born as on eagle-wings away
    Through ether far, 
Thy soul outstrips the utmost star, 
Nor Heaven's own lightning's fiery ray 
Thy spirit from its God can stay. 

Lo! there 'tis thine still on to move
    Thy nearer ken, 
Where ear, and eye, and soul of men 
Turn in mute awe, and shrink to prove 
The mysteries of redeeming love. 

For of that love how vast the sum!
    That Deity 
Forgetful of itself should be, 
And down to earth an exile come, 
To lead these wandering exiles home. 

'Tis thine Heaven's deepest rites to tell
    To seers divining; 
Thou op'st the light in darkness shining: 
Thou searchest life's o'er-flowing well, 
And heaven-born light's primaeval cell.

All praise to God on high we sing,
    To Father, Son, 
And Holy Spirit, Three in One. 
Lo! this the stedfast creed we bring 
Drawn from high Heaven's eternal spring.

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