Poetry and Fine Art Friday: Of the Father’s Love Begotten

This week we’ve been learning and singing this o-l-d hymn from the fourth century. (We’re studying the Middle Ages and the Renaissance this year in school.) Anyway, the hymn poem was written by a man named Aurelius Prudentius who lived in Spain and wrote in Latin. It was translated into English by John Mason Neale in the mid-nineteenth century in England. The version I copied for the urchins and me to sing runs to nine verses, and we sang them all, much to someone’s chagrin. I always want to sing all the verses.

1. Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

2. At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
In their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

3. He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below,
Evermore and evermore!

4. O that birth forever blessèd,
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
Evermore and evermore!
The Jews Praising God

5. This is He Whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

6. O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
And extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

7. Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!

8. Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

9. Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

Computer Guru Son, who also considers himself something of an expert on music, says that the traditional tune that this hymn is sung to is not very good music, not very good at all. I, philistine that I am in terms of musical appreciation, kind of like it. In fact, I like it very much. Click here to listen at Cyberhymnal. (I don’t much care for the plinkety-plunk midi sound, but on a real organ or a piano . . . . )

On another note, pun intended, you should posilutely, absotively, read this article at Poetry Foundation by Susan Thomsen of the blog Chicken Spaghetti: Home Appreciation: Homeschoolers are turning a million kids on to poetry—through fun, not homework. Here’s how you can do it too.

Semicolon’s September Links, Celebrations, and Birthdays.

And Poetry Friday for this week is at Charlotte’s Library.

4 thoughts on “Poetry and Fine Art Friday: Of the Father’s Love Begotten

  1. That’s the tune we sing it to at our church (a tad bit slower, though). And yes, it is beautiful! Thanks for the poetry link.

  2. I think I have a piano arrangement of this one somewhere. Thanks for posting it; God’s majesty and power are impossible to miss.

  3. Wowie – cyberhymnal is going to the races! Although the tempo is fast, what is more startling to me is the lack of breaks between phrases. We sing this at church, also, and I love it (and am very curious what your son has against the music). It was one of the first hymns I sang that didn’t follow a metrical pattern. But the words! Oh… Thank you for sharing all the verses.

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