The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Why, Cruel Herod, Dost Thou Fear

For Epiphany

Words: Crudelis Herodes, Deum
The Roman Breviary form of Hostis Herodis
Derived from Paean Alphabeticus de Christo, with notes, by Caelius Sedulius, 5th Century

Translator: Robert Corbet Singleton, 1867
The title was changed for the 2nd edition in 1871: Why Should The Cruel Herod Fear?

Music: Edwin George Monk

Source: Robert Corbet Singleton and Edwin George Monk, eds., Words of the Anglican Hymn Book (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., J. H. and J. Parker, 1868), #58.

1 Why, cruel Herod, dost thou fear,
That Christ, the King, is coming near?
He takes no realms of earth away,
Who gives the realms of heavenly day.

2 The Magi track the leading star,
Which they had witnessed from afar;
To Light by light they onward press,
And by their gift their God confess.

3 In waters of the crystal flood,
Lo ! dips the Holy Lamb of God:
The sins, which ne’er in Him were traced.
From us, by washing, He effaced.

4 A wondrous Power is brought to sight:
Lo! water reddens 'neath the light!
And, at the word of Force Divine,
Its nature changes into wine.

5 All glory be to Jesu’s Name,
A bright Epiphany Who came:
To Father, Spirit, high we raise,
From age to age, unceasing praise.

Sheet Music from Robert Corbet Singleton and Edwin George Monk, ed., The Anglican hymn book. Second Edition. (Novello, Ewer, 1871), No. 73.

why_should_cruel_herod_fear-monk-1871.jpg (88431 bytes)

Editor's Note:

As it turns out, this is quite a popular first line for a hymn about Herod. We've found at least five different hymns, but one of them are still being researched. Including this hymn, we have:

A fifth hymn with this same first line was posted on a website, but without attribution. Since it may be under copyright, it is not posted here. See: The Epiphany of Our Lord at the blog Knocking Everywhere.

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