The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Behold the Bridegroom Cometh

For Advent / Christmas

Words: 8th Century Greek, Ἰδοὺ ὁ Νυμφιὸς ἔρχεται ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τῆς νυκτός,
from the Ferial Midnight Office of the Greek Church

Compare: Behold the Bridegroom Cometh - Moultrie, with Notes
Behold the Bridegroom Draweth Nigh - Moorsom


Source: John Brownlie, trans., Hymns of the Greek Church (Edinburgh and London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1900)
Christmas Hymns from John Brownlie


Behold the Bridegroom cometh
At the hour of midnight drear,
And blest be he who watcheth
When his Master shall appear,
But woe betide the careless one
Asleep when He is near!


O soul of mine, bestir thee
Lest thou sink in slumber quite,
And the Bridegroom find thee sleeping
When He cometh in His might.
Awake, awake to praises,
For He cometh in the night.


That fearful day approacheth,
Then live, O soul, aright,
And watch the hour, and trim thy lamp
And keep it burning bright,
Lest the voice be heard, 'He cometh!'
In the middle of the night.


Beware when slumber binds thee,
Lest the Bridegroom pass thee by,
And thou knock without in darkness,
And for grief and anguish cry;
Take thy lamp, with oil, and trim it,
For the hour is drawing nigh.


Also found in John Brownlie, Hymns of the Russian Church (Edinburgh: R & R. Clark, Limited, 1920), p. 13.

Brownlie gives these definitions:

"Troparion (τροπάριον). The Troparia are the stanzas which follow the Hirmos [the first stanza], and the term is doubtless derived from the verb τρέπω, to turn. The Troparia turn to the strophes of the Hirmos, as to a model."

"Hirmos (είρμός) is the first stanza of each ode [hymn]. It may or may not have a connection with the stanzas following, but its function is to give them their rhythmical model."

This is one of many hymns inspired by the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13. Others include:

See: Christmas-tide Hymns from the Eastern Churches.

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