This hymn originated as the hymn for Vespers in the Office of the Purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is used for Matins on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in the Extraordinary Form and for Vespers on the same Feast for the Ordinary Form.
Blest Guardian of all virgin souls!
Portal of bliss to man forgiven!
Pure Mother of Almighty God!
Thou hope of earth, and joy of Heaven!
Fair Lily, found amid the thorns!
Most beauteous Dove with wings of gold!
Rod from whose tender root there sprang
That healing Flow’r long since foretold!
Thou Tow’r, against the dragon proof!
Thou Star, to storm-toss’d voyagers dear!
Our course lies o’er a treacherous deep;
Thine be the light by which we steer.
Scatter the mists that round us hang;
Keep far the fatal shoals away;
And while through darkling waves we sweep,
Open a path to life and day.
O Jesu, born of Virgin bright!
Immortal glory be to Thee;
Praise to the Father infinite,
And Holy Ghost eternally.
Words: Anonymous Latin, 18th C.; tr. Fr. Edward Caswall, C.O., 1849.
Tune: “From High Heaven” Leipzig melody, 1539.
The original Latin text of this hymn may be found here.