The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Yesterday, With Exultation

Hymn for St. Stephen
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words: Heri mundus exultavit, Adam of S. Victor (d. 1192), with notes
Translation by John Mason Neale, Altered

Music: "Heri Mundus Exultavit" by Walter Macfarren
Meter: 8,8,7,8,8,7

Source: Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal (London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885), #14, pages 46-47, altered from the version found in Hymns Ancient And Modern, Yesterday, With Exultation.

1. Yesterday, with exultation,
Join'd the world in celebration
    Of her promised Saviour's birth;
Yesterday the Angel-nation
Pour'd the strains of jubilation
    O'er the Monarch born on earth;

2. But today o'er death victorious,
By his faith and actions glorious,
    by his miracles renown'd,
Dared the Deacon Proto-Martyr
Earthly life for Heav'n to barter,
    Faithful midst the faithless found.

3. Forward, Champion, in thy quarrel!
Certain of a certain laurel,
    Holy Stephen, persevere!

Perjured witnesses confounding,
Satan's synagogue astounding
    By thy doctrine true and clear.

4. Lo! in Heaven thy Witness liveth:
Bright and faithful proof He giveth
    Of His Martyr's blamelessness;
Thou by name
a Crown impliest;
Meetly then in pangs thou diest
    For the Crown of Righteousness!

5. For the crown that fadeth never
Bear the torturer's brief endeavour;
    Victory waits to end the strife:
Death shall be thy life's beginning,
And life's losing be the winning
    Of the true and better life.

6. Whom the Holy Ghost endueth,
Whom celestial sight embueth,
    Stephen penetrates the skies;
There God's fullest Glory viewing,
There his victor strength renewing,
    For his near reward he sighs.

7. See, as Jewish foes invade thee,
See how Jesus stands to aid thee:
    Stands to guard His Champion's death:
Cry, that opened Heaven is shown thee:
Cry, that Jesus waits to own thee:
    Cry it with thy latest breath!

8. As the dying Martyr kneeleth,}
For his murderers he appealeth,}
And his prayer their pardon sealeth,
    For their madness grieving sore;
Then in Christ he sleepeth sweetly,}
Who His Pattern kept completely,}
And with Christ he reigneth meetly --
    Martyr first-fruits evermore.

Sheet music to "Heri Mundus Exultavit" by Walter Macfarren from Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal (London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885), #14, page 46.

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