Home » Early Church » Prudentius’ “Of the Father’s Heart Begotten”

Prudentius’ “Of the Father’s Heart Begotten”

Here is a section of one of Prudentius’ Christmas songs. This is found in Prudentius’ Liber Cathemerinon, Hymn IX (A Hymn for Ever Hour). The Christmas hymn “Of the Father’s Heart Begotten,”  is based upon this section of his work. The selection given here begins at line 10-27 then skips to line 106 at “Hail! Thou King….” This selection was chosen, because theses are where the usual verses of the Christmas Hymn are taken from. This translation comes “The Fathers of the Church A New Translation” Volume 43.

Of the Father’s love begotten, long before the
world began,
Alpha and Omega titled, found and term
of all that is,
All that has before existed, all that shall hereafter be.

By His power they were created; at His word
all things were made,
Earth and sky and ocean’s hollow, threefold
frame of cosmic space,
All that in them live and flourish under sphere of sun and moon.

He assumed our fragile body, tainted members
doomed to die,
That the race from Adam spring might
not perish in the end,
Though a dreadful sentence plunged it
deep in Hell’s profound abyss.

O how blest that Birth supernal, when the
Virgin Mother bore
Him who is the world’s salvation, by the Holy
Ghost conceived,
And the Infant, our Redeemer, showed to us
His Face divine.

Sing His praises heights of heaven, all ye
angels sing His praise,
Let the mighty hosts of Heaven, sing in
joyous praise of God;
Let no tongue of man be silent, let all
voices join the hymn.

Lo, He comes of whom the prophets sang in
days of olden time;
He who in the faithful pages of these
seers were once foretold
Now appears, the long expected; let all
join in praise of Him.

Hail! Thou King of all the living; hail! Thou
Judge of all the dead;
At the right hand of Thy father, Thou art
throned in highest power,
And from thence, just Judge of sinners,
Thou shalt one day come again.

Thee the chorus of children, Thee the
old men and the youth,
Throngs of matrons and of virgins, maidens
young and innocent,
Praise with loud concordant voices, all
uniting in the Hymn.

Let the streams with running waters, let the
shores of all the seas,
Snow and frost and summer showers,
winds and woodlands, night and day,
Join in praising Thee forever, through the
endless ages long.

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