The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Whom Of Old The Shepherds Praised

Words: Quem Pastores Laudavere, Authorship Unknown, 14th century, Hoenfurth Manuscript, Translation by George Ratcliffe Woodward, 1902

Music: "Quem Pastores Laudavere," German Melody, Breslau, 1555
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: 88 87

1. Whom of old the shepherds praised,
When the seraph them up-raised
Saying, "Sirs, be not amazed,1
Rex glorie, Rex glorie:"2

2. Unto whom the kings came faring
Gold and myrrh and incense bearing,
Love unfeignedly declaring
Leoni, victorie, victorie.3

3. Him with Mary bless, nor tire,
Chanting with th' angelic choir:
High uplift the strain, and higher,
Laus, honoret gloria, et gloria.

4. To the Christ-child, King of heaven
God, to man through Mary given,
Raise the lay from morn till even,
Dulci cum melodia, melodia.


1. Or: afraid Return

2. Or: Heav'n's all glorious King is born!" Return

3. Or: For the conqu'ring Child of God. Return

Sheet Music from George Ratcliffe Woodward, The Cowley Carol Book, First Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1902, Revised and Expanded Edition 1929), Carol #26
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Sheet Music from Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), Carol # 733.

Whom_Of_Old_733.gif (192471 bytes)

Also found in G. R. Woodward, ed., The Hymns and Carols for Christmas-tide (London: H. Grice, 1897), Carol #3, p. 11. The texts were identical except for the last line in each verse, as follows:

1. 'Natus est Rex gloriae:'

2. 'Leoni victoriae'

3. 'Laus, honor et gloria.'

4. 'Dulci cum melodia.'

Rev. Woodward noted "From Daniel. xiv cent." I believe that this refers to a carol from the 14th century found in Dr. Hermann Adalbert Daniel, Thesaurus hymnologicus sive Hymnorum. Five Volumes. (Hallis: Sumptius Eduardi Anton, 1841-1856). Copies are available at both Google Books and the Internet Archive, among others.

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.

Related Hymns and Carols