Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sing My Tongue the Glorious Battle: A Lenten Hymn

You'd be hard pressed to find a contemporary song with a tenth the doctrinal substance or devotional force or sacred passion of this Ancient Christian Hymn.  It was written by Venantius Fortunatis in the years prior to A.D. 600 and set to an ancient Plainsong tune.

1. Sing; my tongue, the glorious battle,
sing the winning of the fray;
o're the cross the Victor's trophy,
sound the loud triumphant lay:
tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
as the victim won the day.

2. He our Maker, deeply grieving
That the first-made Adam fell,
When he ate the fruit forbidden
Whose reward was death and Hell,
Marked He then this Tree, the ruin
Of the first tree to dispell.

3. Now the thirty years accomplished
which on earth he willed to see,
born for this He meets his passion,
gives Himself an off'ring free;
on the cross the Lamb is lifted,
there the sacrifice to be.

4. There the nails and spear He suffers, vinegar and gall and reed; from His sacred body pierc├Ęd blood and water both proceed: precious flood, which all creation from the stain of sin hath freed.

5. Faithful cross, thou sign of triumph,
now for us the noblest tree,
none in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peer may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee! 

5. Praise and honor to the Father;  
Praise and honor to the Son;
Praise and honor to the Spirit;
Ever Three and ever One.
One in might and one in glory,
One eternal ages run.


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