The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Holy Love Towards Her Foes

For St. Stephan's Day

Words: Miris probat sese modis

Source: Isaac Williams, ed., Hymns Translated from the Parisian Breviary (London: Printed for J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1839), pp. 51-52.


"I say unto you, Love your enemies, blew them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven."—St. Matt. v.

Holy Love towards her foes
In mysterious channels flows;
Bow'd to soothe, or steel'd to blame,
Holy Love is still the same.

Pleader for himself he stood:—
Now he falls, his eloquent blood
From the ground for mercy cries,
Pleading for his enemies.

God from Heaven His martyr heard,—
Heard, and bless'd his dying word:
Saul, the murderer, standing by,—
Saul was granted to that cry.

Thus he bow'd his drooping head,
Thus his joyous spirit fled:
"Jesu, Lord," his offering free,—
"Take the life I owe to Thee."

Death, kind angel, watching nigh,
Sweetly clos'd his tranquil eye;
Whilst the freed spirit wing'd her flight,
From beam to beam, to endless light.

Thou that dealtst thy plenteous store
Daily to the sick and poor,
Now art come, a welcome guest,
To thy Father's table blest.

In thy bridal crown display'd,
In the wedding-robe array'd
Of thy purple life-blood wove,
For the Slain One's feast of love.

Thou of Virgin-mother born,
In this wintry world forlorn,
Jesu, Lord, all praise to Thee.
All glory be to Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One,
Unto all eternity.

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