Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
in the Body and the Blood
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of Light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.
At his feet the six-winged seraph;
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the Presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
Alleluia, Lord Most High!”
Words: Liturgy of Saint James (fifth century);
trans. Gerald Moultrie (1829-1885), 1864
Music: Picardy (French carol as in The English Hymnal, 1906)
From the album Complete New English Hymnal, Vol. 18, sung by the Manchester Cathedral Choir.