The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Thou, O Lord, In Flesh Wert Drest

Words: Joseph Anstice, 1836

Music: Unknown
Meter: 86 86

Source: Roundell Palmer, ed., The Book of Praise. Boston: Sever, Francis, & Co., 1870, # 1, pp. 449-450.

1. When Thou, O Lord, in flesh wert drest
The world Thou mad'st to free,
The Inn, where weary travellers rest,
Had not a room for Thee.

2. The Holy Babe in manger rude
Was all His birth-night laid;
Pondering God's words, in thoughtful mood,
Nigh watched the Mother Maid.

3. But O, that wondrous midnight round
What light, what glories throng,
When man his infant Saviour found,
And heard the angels' song!

4. Sweet anthem! caught from hosts on high,
Dwell thou our hearts within;
Blest bridal of the earth and sky,
Long separate through sin.

5. Though all unmet that gladsome hymn
For harps by sin unstrung,
That psalm, by white-robed seraphim
In God's own presence sung.

6. Yet sometimes, when our spirit tires,
By toil and darkness worn,
Lord! make us hear seraphic choirs,
And give a glimpse of morn!

7. If love wax cold, and strife increase,
Chang in our hearts again,
“Glory to God on high, and peace
“On earth, good will to men!”

Note from Palmer (p. 506):

I am indebted to the Rev. J. Keble for permission, obtained through him, to introduce this and the other additional Hymns of the late Professor Anstice.... The collected hymns of the author have never been made public, though they were privately printed, after his death, in 1836.”

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