The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Key of David, Hailed by Those

For Advent

December 19, called O Clavis David

This is one in a series of seven hymns based on The Seven Great 'O' Antiphons.

Words: "O Radix Jesse," one of the Great O Antiphons for Advent
Translation by Rev.
John Mason Neale
See: O Radix Jesse by Abbott Prosper Louis Guéranger, O.S.B.

Music: "Old Melody" from The Hymnary, #121.

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: Rev. John Mason Neale, Hymns For Children. A Third Series. (1854), Third Edition (London: Joseph Masters, 1867),  pp. 8-9.
See: Christmas in Neale's Hymns for Children

O Key of David and Sceptre of the House of Israel, Thou that openest, and no man shutteth, and shuttest, and no man openeth: Come, and loose the prisoner from the prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness from the shadow of death.

1. O Key of David, hailed by those
    In fetters long confin’d;
For where Thou openest none may close,
    Nor where Thou loosest, bind;

2. Without one ray of light around
    To comfort and to cheer,
Poor prisoners we, in fetters bound,
    Await Thy drawing near.

3. Thou, only Thou, canst loose the chain,
    Thou only end our woe;
Thou only give us light again,
    And let the captives go.

4. We wait in faith, in prayer we wait,
    Until the happy day
When Thou shalt loose our prison-gate,
    And call Thine Own away.

5. From every creature that hath breath
    Praise to the Father be :
To Him that hath the Keys of death,
    And, Holy Ghost, to Thee!

Sheet Music from William Cooke and Benjamin Webb, eds., The Hymnary – A Book of Church Song (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1872), #122, p. 102.


Also found in Mary Sackville Lawson, et al, eds., Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols of John Mason Neale (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), p. 345, citing Revelation 3:7: "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth..."  (KJV).

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