The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

What Kindness E'en to Mortal Foes

At Second Vespers, Feast of S. Stephen.
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words: Miris probat sese modis, Paris Breviary

Translation: J. D. Chambers, 1857.

Source: John David Chambers, ed., Lauda Syon: Ancient Latin Hymns (London: J. Masters, 1857)

What kindness e'en to mortal foes
Divinest Charity bestows;
Her gracious smile and frown severe
Alike how lovely they appear.

Firm stood The Saint! and prayer he made
And stoned and dying still he prayed;
His wounds, as eloquent they bleed,
E'en for his savage murderers plead.

God from His Throne celestial heard,
He marked His Martyr's dying word;
Saul, cause and witness of his death,
He gave to that expiring breath.

With shattered limbs behold Him lie!
Rejoiced for Jesus thus to die;
"Christ" he exclaimed "my spirit take,
I lay it down for Thy dear sake."

Then peaceful death drew gently nigh,
In slumber sealed his wearied eye;
Quit of this mortal coil, his way
He wings unto the realms of Day!

Thy lot in this terrestrial state,
Was on thy God's own poor to wait;
Now honoured guest of Christ thy Lord,
Thou sittest at the Heavenly board!

And in that Aiming nuptial vest
Thy blood-empurpled garments, drest,
With Him, The Lamb once slain, for e'er
Shalt in His Bridal Banquet share.

Great God! if Thou the courage give
What may not saintly hearts achieve!
May we attain his blest estate
Whose triumph now we celebrate! Amen.

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