Why, Impious Herod Vainly Fear
Written by Caelius Sedulius (5th cent). This hymn is a continuation of the hymn A solis ortus cardine and is used for Vespers on Epiphany.
| HOSTIS, Herodes impie,1
Christum venire quid times?2
Non eripit mortalia,
qui regna dat caelestia.
| WHY, impious Herod, vainly fear
that Christ the Savior cometh here?
He takes no earthly realms away
Who gives the crown that lasts for aye.
| Ibant Magi, quam viderant,3
stellam sequentes praeviam:
Lumen requirunt lumine:
Deum fatentur munere.
| To greet His birth the Wise Men went,
led by the star before them sent;
called on by light, towards Light they pressed,
and by their gifts their God confessed.
| Lavacra puri gurgitis
caelestis Agnus attigit:
peccata, quae non detulit,
nos abluendo sustulit.
| In holy Jordan's purest wave
the heavenly Lamb vouchsafed to lave;
That He, to whom was sin unknown,
might cleanse His people from their own.
| Novum genus potentiae:
aquae rubescunt hydriae,
vinumque iussa fundere,
mutavit unda originem.
| New miracle of power divine!
The water reddens into wine:
He spake the word: and poured the wave
in other streams than nature gave.
| Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui apparuisti gentibus,
cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
| All glory, Lord, to Thee we pay
for Thine Epiphany today;
all glory as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
From the Breviary and the Liturgia Horarum. Translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).
Changes made by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 to the Roman Breviary:
1 Crudelis Herodes, Deum
2 Regem venire quid times?
3 Some sources show this line as: Ibant Magi, qua venerant