The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Yesterday, With Exultation

For St. Stephen's Day
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Words: Heri mundus exultavit, Adam of S. Victor (d. 1192), with notes
Translation: Yesterday, With Exultation by Rev. John Mason Neale, D.D., Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862)

Altered by the Compilers

Music: "Heri Mundus Exultavit" by Walter Macfarren
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Meter: 887 887

Source: Hymns Ancient and Modern. (London: William Clowes and Sons, Ltd., 1922), #64, p. 64-5.

1. Yesterday, with exultation,
Join'd the world in celebration
    Of her promised Saviour's birth;
Yesterday the Angel-nation
Pour'd the strains of jubilation
    O'er the Monarch born on earth;

2. But today o'er death victorious,
By his faith and actions glorious,
    by his miracles renown'd,
See the Deacon triumph gaining,
'Midst the faithless faith sustaining,
    First of holy Martyrs found.

3. Onward, champion, falter never,
Sure of sure reward for ever,
    Holy Stephen, persevere;
Perjured witnesses confounding,
Satan's synagogue astounding
    By thy doctrine true and clear.

4. Thine own Witness is in Heaven,
True and faithful, to thee given,
    Witness of thy blamelessness:
By thy name a crown implying,
Meet it is thou shouldst be dying
    For the crown of righteousness.

5. For the crown that fadeth never
Bear the torturer's brief endeavour;
    Victory waits to end the strife:
Death shall be thy life's beginning,
And life's losing be the winning
    Of the true and better life.

6. Fill'd with God's most Holy Spirit,
See the Heav'n thou shalt inherit,
    Stephen, gaze into the skies:
There God's glory steadfast viewing,
Thence thy victor-strength renewing,
    Pant for thy eternal prize.

7. See, as Jewish foes invade thee,
See how Jesus stands to aid thee,
    Stands at God's right hand on high:
Tell how open'd Heav'n is shown thee,
Tell how Jesus waits to own thee,
    Tell it with thy latest cry.

8. As the dying martyr kneeleth,
For his murderers he appealeth,
    For their madness griefing sore;
Then in Christ he sleepeth sweetly,
And with Christ he reigneth meetly,
    Martyr first-fruits, evermore.

Sheet Music to "Heri Mundus Exultavit" by Walter Macfarren from Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal (London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885), #14, page 46.

Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore and Thomas Morley, eds., Music of the Appendix to the Hymnal Noted. (Novello, Ewer & Co., No Date, ca. 1870), Tune #128, p. 138.

Tune_128.jpg (47503 bytes)

Note from John Julian, ed., Dictionary of Hymnology. Second Revised Edition with New Supplement. (1892, 1907), p. 513.

Heri mundus exultavit. Adam of St. Victor. [St. Stephen.] This sequence is by some considered to be the masterpiece of the poet, and is by Abp. Trench termed "a sublime composition." The full text, in 78 lines, together with a French translation of the 15th cent., and extended notes, is given by Gautier in his Oeuvres Poetiques d'Adam de S. Victor; Paris, 1858, pp. 211-222. Gautier, in his 2nd ed., 1881, p. 78, quotes it from the Limoges Sequentiary of the 12th or 13th cent. (Bibl. Nat., Pans, No. 1139), a Gradual of the Abbey of St. Victor written before 1239 (Bibl. Nat., Paris, No. 14452, and other MSS.). It is also found in Daniel, ii. p. 64; Kehrein, No. 714; Trench's Sacred Latin Poetry, ed. 1864, p. 212; The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St. Victor, &c, by D. S. Wrangham, 1881, and others. Daniel thinks lines 63-78 (omitted by Trench) are of doubtful authenticity. The legendary miracles there noted as worked by the relics of St. Stephen are however recorded by St. Augustine in Book xxii. c. 8, of his De Civitate Dei, a work probably well known to the author of this hymn, and the lines are in almost all the MSS. Translated as :

1. Yesterday, With Exultation. By J. M. Neale, pub. in the 2nd ed. of his Mediaeval Hymns, 1863, in 7 stanzas of 6 lines and 1 stanza of 8 lines. This was repeated in the Appendix to H. A. & M., 1868, with stanza viii. reduced to 6 lines; and in the Appendix to the Hymnal Noted, 1862, and others in its original form.

Editor's Note: Neale's translation was altered in the following two publications:

2. Jesu, Word of God Incarnate. By W. Cooke, made for and first published in the Hymnary, 1872.

Translations not in Common Use:

1. Yesterday the happy earth. Mrs. Charles, 1858.

2. Mingling with the shouts of earth. H. Kynaston, 1862.

3. Death shall be thy birthday morn. Pt. ii. of No. 2.

4. Yesterday the world elated. D. S. Wrangham, 1881. [J. M.]


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