The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Princely City Passing By

At Lauds In The Weeks After Epiphany

Words: Linquunt tecta Magi Principis urbis, Charles Coffin (1676-1749), Paris Breviary, 1736, with notes

Translation:  J. C. Earle, 1883.

Source: Orby Shipley, ed., Annus Sanctus: Hymns of the Church for the Ecclesiastical Year. Vol. 1. (London and New York: Burns and Oates, 1884), p. 50-52.

The princely city passing by, 
	The Magi turn to greet 
The goal of all their toilsome march 
	In Bethlehem's lowly street ; 
And while, from many tuneful lips, 
	Spontaneous anthems rise, 
Triumphant faith takes wings of hope, 
	And wafts them to the skies. 

Transporting joy, when once again 
	The star that they had lost, 
With heavenly light and promise bright, 
	Their eager pathway crossed ; 
Nor stayed its radiant course until 
	It took its golden rest, 
Above the place where Jesus lay 
	Upon his Mother's breast. 

No glint is here of ivory, 
	No blaze of burnished gold, 
No purple robes the infant limbs 
	In gorgeous hues enfold : 
His palace is a stable rude, 
	His throne a manger wild, 
And raiment rough in web and woof, 
	The purple of that Child. 

Let pomp and splendour other kings 
	Luxuriously adorn ; 
For better proves he thus his reign 
	Supreme the Babe new-born : 
In peasant-garb and culture mean, 
	He sways the realms of thought ; 
And 'neath the sceptre of his will 
	The hearts of men are brought. 

Beside the cradle where he sleeps, 
	They worship on their knees ; 
And in the Child the eye of faith 
	The present Godhead sees ; 
Let us, their offspring in the faith, 
	Adore the Infant here; 
And offer him our best of gifts, 
	Hearts filled with sacred fear. 

Let chaste and ardent love supply 
	The gold of Eastern kings, 
And bodies penance-chastened yield 
	The myrrh devotion brings : 
Our vows and prayers, like frankincense 
	And myrrh, shall sweetly rise 
To hail the Babe recumbent here 
	As ruler of the skies. 

To God the Father, fount of light, 
	Be glory evermore ; 
To God the Son, whose light and grace 
	Extend from shore to shore, 
Be equal glory given here 
	And in the realms above, 
In never-ending songs of praise 
	Commensurate with love. 

Note from Shipley:

56. Linquunt tecta Magi principis orbis. Lauds Hymn from the Paris Breviary, by C. Coffin. The princely city passing by. J. C. Earle, 1883. 50

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