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
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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.

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