The Royal Banners Forward Go

This hymn is used for Vespers in Passiontide in the Extraordinary Form (Roman Breviary). It is also used for Lauds on the Feast of the Christ the King and Vespers on the Feasts of the Invention of the Holy Cross and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the Roman Breviary. It was used for Vespers in Passiontide in the Paris Breviary (1736). It was used for Vespers during Passiontide in the Sarum Breviary. Starting from the verse “Impleta Sunt” it was sung to the end as the hymn for Vespers I on the Feast of the Invention (Finding) of the Holy Cross (May 3) and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14) in the Sarum Breviary as well.

The Royal Banners forward go,
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow;
Where He in flesh, our flesh Who made,
Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood,
Where mingled water flowed, and blood.

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old,
Amidst the nations, God, saith he,
Hath reigned and triumphed from the tree.

O tree of beauty, tree of light!
O tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy limbs should find their rest.

Blest tree, whose chosen branches bore
The wealth that did the world restore,
The price of humankind to pay,
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

Upon its arms, like balance true,
He weighed the price for sinners due,
The price which none but He could pay,
And spoiled the spoiler of his prey.

O cross, our one reliance, hail!
Still may thy power with us avail
To give new virtue to the saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done:
As by the cross Thou dost restore,
So rule and guide us evermore.

Words: St. Venantius Fortunatus, 569; tr. John Mason Neale, 1851.
Tune:Vexilla Regis” proper Sarum melody.
Alternate Tune:Agincourt” traditional English tune, 15th Century.

This is the text as it appears in  Hymns Ancient and Modern (1867):

The Royal Banners forward go,
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow;
Where He in flesh, our flesh Who made,
Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.

There whilst He hung, His sacred Side
By soldier’s spear was opened wide,
To cleanse us in the precious flood
Of Water mingled with His Blood,

Fulfilled is now what David told
In true prophetic song of old,
How God the heathen’s King should be ;
For God is reigning from the Tree.

O Tree of glory, Tree most fair,
Ordained those Holy Limbs to bear,
How bright in purple robe it stood,
The purple of a Saviour’s Blood!

Upon its arms, like balance true,
He weighed the price for sinners due,
The price which none but He could pay,
And spoiled the spoiler of his prey.

To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done:
As by the Cross Thou dost restore,
So rule and guide us evermore. Amen.

The original Latin text of this hymn may be found here.

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About Noah

musings of a young Catholic aspiring to be faithful to his Lord and God Jesus Christ through His Holy Catholic Church
This entry was posted in 4. Our Lord Jesus Christ Carries His Cross, English Translation of Non-English Hymn, Evening Prayer / Vespers, Holy Week, Hymns By The Greats, Jesus Christ Our Lord, John Mason Neale, Lent, Major Feasts, Non-English Hymns, Passion Sunday (EF), Roman Breviary, Saints of the Church (Canonized or Beatified), St. Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, The Church Year, The Cross, The Elevation Of The Holy Cross (September 14), The Holy Rosary, The Liturgy of Hours/Breviary, The Passion, The Sorrowful Mysteries. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Royal Banners Forward Go

  1. Pingback: Vexilla Regis Prodeunt | Saint Augustine's Lyre

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