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For the Third Friday in Advent: a hymn from Cosmas the Melodist on the Incarnation

December 19, 2014

From prior years on this blog: the Tractarian John Mason Neale translated a series of hymns of the Eastern Church and one of these, by Cosmas the Melodist (a foster brother of John of Damascus) is on the Incarnation.  Cosmas lived in the eighth century and became Bishop of Maiuma in 743.

As Jonah, issuing from his three days’ tomb,

At length was cast, uninjured, on the earth;

So, from the Virgin’s unpolluted womb

The Incarnate WORD, That dwelt there, had His Birth:

For He, Who knew no taint of mortal stain,

Willed that His Mother spotless should remain.

CHRIST comes, Incarnate GOD, amongst us now,

Begotten of the FATHER ere the day:

And He, to Whom the sinless legions bow,

Lies cradled, ‘midst unconscious beasts on hay:

And, by His homely swaddling-bands girt in,

Looses the many fetters of our sin.

Now the New Child of Adam’s race draws nigh,

To us, the faithful, given: This, this is He

That shall the Father of Eternity,

The Angel of the Mighty Counsel, be:

This the eternal GOD, by Whose strong hands

The fabric of the world supported stands.

It is an amazing thing that this Child could at once be so helpless and at the same time be Him who “upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3)

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