τῷ Βασιλεῖ καὶ Δεσπότῃ.

The LORD and King of all things But yesterday was born:

And Stephen's glorious off'ring

His birthtide shall adorn. No pearls of orient splendour, No jewels can he show;

But with his own true heart's blood
His shining vestments glow.

Come, ye that love the Martyrs,
And pluck the flow'rs of song,
And weave them in a garland

For this our suppliant throng:
And cry,-O Thou that shinest
In grace's brightest ray,
CHRIST'S valiant Protomartyr,

For peace and favour pray!

Thou first of all Confessors,

Of all the Deacons crown,
Of every following athlete

The glory and renown:
Make supplication, standing
Before CHRIST's Royal Throne,
That He would give the Kingdom,
And for our sins atone!

[In contrast with the above Stanzas, the reader may not be displeased to compare the celebrated sequence of Adam of S. Victor, Heri mundus exultavit; which has never yet, I believe, appeared in English.]


Yesterday, with exultation

Join'd the world in celebration

Of her promis'd Saviour's birth :

Yesterday the Angel nation
Pour'd the strains of jubilation

O'er the Monarch born on earth.

But to-day, o'er death victorious,
By his faith and actions glorious,
By his miracles renown'd,
Dared the Deacon Protomartyr
Earthly life for Heav'n to barter,
Faithful midst the faithless found.

Forward, champion, in thy quarrel ! Certain of a certain laurel,

Holy Stephen, persevere ! Perjur'd witnesses confounding, Satan's Synagogue astounding

By thy doctrine true and clear.

Lo! in Heav'n thy Witness liveth;
Bright and faithful proof He giveth
Of His Martyr's full success:
Thou by name a Crown impliest;
Meetly then in pangs thou diest
For the Crown of Righteousness!

For a crown that fadeth never,
Bear the torturer's brief endeavour,
Victory waits to end the strife.

Death shall be thy birth's beginning,
And life's losing be the winning
Of a true and better life.

Whom the HOLY GHOST endueth,
Whom celestial sight imbueth,
Stephen penetrates the skies:
There GOD's fullest glory viewing,
There his victor strength renewing,
For his near reward he sighs.

See, as Jewish foes invade thee,
See, how JESUS stands to aid thee:

Stands, to guard His champion's death!
Cry that opened Heav'n is shown thee:
Cry that JESUS waits to own thee:
Cry it with thy latest breath!

As the dying Martyr kneeleth,
For his murderers he appealeth,
And his prayer their pardon sealeth,

For their madness grieving sore;
Then in CHRIST he sleepeth sweetly,
Who His pattern kept completely,
And with CHRIST he reigneth meetly,
Martyr first-fruits, evermore !


μέγα καὶ παράδοξον θαῦμα.

A great and mighty wonder,
The festal makes secure :
The Virgin bears the Infant
With Virgin-honour pure.

The Word is made Incarnate,
And yet remains on high:
And Cherubim sing anthems
To shepherds from the sky.

And we with them triumphant
Repeat the hymn again :
"To GOD on high be glory,

And peace on earth to men!"

While thus they sing your Monarch,
Those bright angelic bands,
Rejoice, ye vales and mountains!

Ye oceans, clap your hands!

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