The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

To Earth Descending, Word Sublime

For Advent
"Morning Hymn in Advent"

Romans 13:11. "Now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."

Words: Verbum supernum prodiens, Ambrosian, 5th - 6th Century, with notes
Translated by Rev. John Mason Neale
Not to be confused with Verbum Supernum Prodiens Nec Patris (St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274),
(A hymn of Corpus Christi)

Music: Advent Melody from Salisbury Hymnal

Source: Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #11 (Combined Edition #29), p. 35.

1. a To earth descending, Word sublime,1
b Begotten ere the days of time;2
c Who cam’st a Child, the world to aid,
d As years their downward course display’d:4

2. e Each breast be lightened from above,
f Each heart be kindled with thy love;
g That we, who hear thy call to-day,7
h At length may cast earth’s joys away.8

3. i That so—when thou, our Judge, art nigh,
All secret deeds of men to try,
k Shalt mete to sin pangs rightly won,11
* To just men joy for deeds well done—

4. l Thy servants may not be enchain’d13
By punishment their guilt has gain’d,
m But with the blessed evermore
May serve and love thee, and adore.

5. To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honour, might, and glory be
From age to age eternally. Amen.

Notes from A Short Commentary on the Hymnal Noted (London: Joseph Masters, 1852), pp.  10-11.

1. Word Sublime. That is, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, Who was on high with the Father, and "for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven." Return

2. Ere the days of time. Or, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "before all worlds." Return

4. At years their downward course displayed. In the latter times. So in the last hymn [Creator Of The Stars Of Night]: As drew the world to evening tide. Return

7. Who hear Thy call. "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, to-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." (Heb. iii. 7.) Return

8. At length. So S. Paul exhorts us: "Now it is high time to wake out of sleep." And again, "The time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the flesh." Return

11. Shalt mete. That is, shalt measure out the punishment due to sin. Return

13. May not be enchained. So we had in the VIIIth hymn: They weave new chains of woe and crime. Return

    Note: The 8th hymn was "O Blest Creator of the Light" (Translation of Lucis Creator optime), a hymn for Sunday Evening from the Salisbury Hymnal.

Notes from The Words of the Hymnal Noted Complete With Scriptural References (London: J. A. Novello and J. Masters, no date, circa 1855), p. 32.

a. S. John i. 11. Return

b. S. John i. 1. Psalm ii. 7. S. John xvi. 28. Prov. viii. 22, 23. Return

c. Isaiah ix. 6. Return

d. Heb. i. 2. Return

e. Psalm xxvii. 1. Psalm lxxxiv. 11. Return

f. Cant. vi. 5. Cant. viii. 6. Return

g. Psalm xcv. 8. Heb. iii. 7. Return

h. Heb. xi. 25. Psalm l. 21. Ecclus. xvi. 17. Zeph. Return

i. 12. Psalm xc. 8. Return

k. S. Matt. xxv. 46. Col. iii. 25. Dan. xii. 2. Return

*. Rom. ii. 7. Return

l. Job xviii. 9. Psalm xxv. 14. Isaiah Iii 2. S. John xi. 44. Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24. Return

m. S. John xiv. 2. Return

Editor's Note: In the text, there was no scriptural references that had been marked for the footnote 'm'; a comparison with the scriptural text, compared with the line in the hymn, provided the link in this case.

Sheet Music from Neale and Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, #11 (#29 in Combined Edition), p. 35.

11_verbum_supernum.jpg (83080 bytes)

Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), #11, Verbum supernum prodiens.

11-01.jpg (359813 bytes) 11-02.jpg (593546 bytes)

Also found in George Radcliffe Woodward, ed, Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), #2

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.