The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Life, Which God's Incarnate Word

For St. John's the Evangelist's Day
See Hymns For St. John The Evangelist.

Words: Quae dixit, egit, pertulit, Anonymous Latin Hymn, Cluny Breviary, 1686

Music: "Whitwell," by J. Hopkins
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Meter: CM

Source: Edward Caswall, Hymns and Poems. Second Edition (London: Burns, Oates, & Co., 1873), #50 , p. 194.

1. The life which God's Incarnate Word
    Lived here below with men,
Three blest Evangelists record
    With Heav'n-inspired pen:

2. John penetrates on eagle wing
    The Father's dread abode ;
And shews the mystery wherein
    The Word subsists with God.

3. Pure Saint ! upon his Saviour's breast
    Invited to recline,
'Twas thence he drew, in moments blest,
    His knowledge all divine :

4. There too, with that angelic love
    Did he his bosom fill,
Which, once enkindled from above,
    Breathes in his pages still.

5. Oh, dear to Christ! -- to thee upon
    His Cross, of all bereft,
Thou virgin soul! the Virgin Son
    His Virgin Mother left.

6. To Jesus, born of Virgin bright,
    Praise with the Father be;
Praise to the Spirit Paraclete,
    Through all eternity.

Music: Thomas Helmore and Thomas Morley, eds., Music of the Appendix to the Hymnal Noted. (Novello, Ewer & Co., No Date, ca. 1870), Tune #129.

Tune_129-01.jpg (27749 bytes)

Tune_129-02.jpg (15545 bytes)

First published in Edward Caswall, Lyra Catholica (London: James Burns, 1849), pp. 287-288, and often altered.

Note from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology. Second Revised Edition with New Supplement. (1892, 1907), p. 947.

Quae dixit, egit, pertulit. [St. John the Evangelist.] Included in the Cluniac [Cluny] Breviary, Paris, 1686, p. 187, in 5 stanzas and a doxology, as the hymn at Matins on the Festival of St. John the Evangelist; in the Orleans Breviary, 1693, it is assigned to Lauds.

Translated as : The life which God's Incarnate Word. By Edward Caswall, in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 287, and his Hymns and Poems, 1873, p. 194, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. It passed into Murray's Hymnal, 1852, and the Scottish Episco. Hymns, 1858, each with alterations peculiar to itself. In Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861 and 1875, stanza v. is omitted ; stanzas ii. and vi. are rewritten, and stanza iii. is altered. This text, again slightly altered, is in Kennedy, 1863, and the Hymnary, 1872. In Rorison's Hymns and Anthems, 1851, it begins, "Three holy Gospels tell in turn." [J. M.]

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