The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Yesterday The World, Elated

For St. Stephen's Day
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words: Heri mundus exultavit, Adam of S. Victor (d. 1192), with notes
Translation: Digby S. Wrangham

Music: Not Stated

Source: Digby S. Wrangham, The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St. Victor. From the Text of Gautier. Vol. 1 of 3 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co., 1831), Hymn #29, pp. 176-183.

Yesterday the world, elated,
Joyed, and, joying, celebrated
    Christ the Saviour's natal day:
Yesterday, heaven's King surrounding,
Angel-choirs, his welcome sounding, 5
    Sang to him with joyful lay.

Protomartyr and a deacon,
Faith's clear light and life's bright beacon,
    For his wonder-works well known,
Stephen on this day all-glorious 10
Won the victory, and, victorious,
    Trod the unbelievers down.

Thus, since those 'gainst light engaging,
Conquered, fail, behold them raging
    Like wild beasts in their despair; 15
Lying witnesses they bring.
And with bitter words they sting,
    Seed of vipers that they are !

Champion ! yield to none, but ever
Persevere in thine endeavour, 20
    Stephen ! sure of sure reward :
Their false witnesses withstand,
And confute all Satan's band
    By thine eloquence outpoured.

In the heavens thy Witness dwelleth; 25
Truly, faithfully, He telleth
    How thou hast no evil done :
Since "a crown" for name thou bearest.
Suffering first thou fitly sharest.
    Till thy glory-crown be won. 30

For that crown's unfading dower
Choose to bear brief torture's power
    There awaits thee victory !
Death new birth for thee portendeth.
And its pain, which quickly endeth, 35
    Is the dawn of life to thee.

Full of the blest Spirit's grace,
Stephen into heaven's space
    Penetrates with lightened eyes;
Gazing on God's glory, he 40
Waxes strong for victory,
    Longing for its deathless prize.

Lo ! at God's own right hand standing,
Jesus, in thy cause contending,
    Stephen ! lift thine eyes and see ! 45
Cry that heaven now open lieth ;
And that Christ thine eye descrieth
    Cry aloud in accents free !

To his Lord his soul commending,
Sweet he deems it at life's ending 50
    'Neath these stones for him to fall.
Saul stands by and keeps the clothes
Of each stoner as he throws,
    Stoning Stephen through them all.

That the Lord would not be laying 55
To his murderers' charge this slaying,
Stephen kneeleth down, and, praying,
    Mourns their mad and reckless deed :
So asleep in Christ fell Stephen,
Who had Christ to serve so striven, 60
And now lives with Christ in heaven,
    First-fruits of the martyrs' seed ;

That in Africa from death
    He six men to life revived,
Is a fact Augustine saith, 65
    And one commonly believed.

When, by God's grace, his remains
    From their grave to light were brought,
Then were given heavy rains
    On the earth in time of drought. 70

He by perfume rare alone
    Makes disease and demons flee,
And due praise and fame hath won
    With a deathless memory.

Martyr ! whose sweet name doth live 75
    In the Church so pleasantly,
An enfeebled world revive
    With thy heavenly fragrancy ! Amen.

Editor's Note.

The Latin text was printed on opposite pages to the English translation.

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