This hymn is used for Matins/Office of Readings on the Solemnity of the Ascension in both Forms of the Roman Breviary. This hymn was also used for Vespers & Matins on the Solemnity of the Ascension in the Sarum Breviary.
Eternal Monarch, King most high,
Whose blood hath brought redemption nigh,
By whom the death of Death was wrought,
And conquering grace’s battle fought.
Ascending to the throne of might,
And seated at the Father’s right,
All power in Heav’n is Jesu’s own,
That here His manhood had not known.
That so, in nature’s triple frame,
Each heav’nly and each earthly name,
And things in hell’s abyss abhorred,
May bend the knee and own Him Lord.
Yea, angels tremble when they see
How changed is our humanity;
That Flesh hath purged what flesh had stained,
And God, the Flesh of God, hath reigned.
Be Thou our Joy and strong Defense,
Who art our future Recompense;
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.
To Thee we therefore humbly pray
That Thou wouldst purge our sins away,
And draw our hearts by cords of grace
To Thy celestial dwelling-place.
So when the Judgment day shall come,
And all must rise to meet their doom,
Thou wilt remit the debts we owe,
And our lost crowns again bestow.
O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.
Words: Ascr. St. Ambrose, 4th Century; tr. John Mason Neale, 1852, vv. 7 & 8 others.
Tune: “Deus Tuorum Militum“, Grenoble Antiphoner, 1753
The original compilers of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861 altered Neale’s text, producing the following hymn. This is the text as it appears in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1867):
O Lord most High, Eternal King,
By Thee redeemed, Thy praise we sing;
The bonds of death are burst by Thee,
And Grace has won the victory.
Ascending to the Father’s Throne,
Thou claim’st the Kingdom as Thine Own;
Thy days of mortal weakness o’er
All power is Thine forevermore.
To Thee the whole creation now
Shall, in its threefold order, bow,
Of things on earth, and things on high,
And things that underneath us lie.
In awe and wonder angels see
How changed is man’s estate by Thee,
How Flesh makes pure as flesh did stain,
And Thou, True God, in Flesh dost reign.
Be Thou our Joy, O mighty Lord!
As Thou wilt be our great Reward;
Let all our glory be in Thee
Both now and through eternity.
All praise from every heart and tongue
To Thee, ascended Lord, be sung;
All praise to God the Father be,
And Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.
Tune: Eastwick, Thomas T. Noble, 1902.
The original Latin text of this hymn may be found here.