When Erst The Holy Spirit

This is the text of this hymn as it appeared in the Second Edition of William Chatterton Dix’s “Altar Songs.” He gives it the heading “Whitsuntide. The Voice of The Beloved.”

When erst the Holy Spirit
Moved on the waters’ face;
Light sprang from out the darkness,
The shapeless leapt to grace.

When He o’ershadowed Mary,
Our Lady brought to birth,
The Son of God, the Holy,
The Saviour of the earth.

But most of all He cometh
In Eucharistic feast,
Where Jesus, Son of Mary,
Is Sacrifice and Priest.

I marvel at the wonder,
I bow in silent fear,
And ask in guilty whisper,
If God be really here.

When erst the Holy Spirit
Moved on the waters’ face,
Could light spring out of darkness?
Could chaos turn to grace?

When He o’ershadowed Mary,
Could mortal bring to birth
The Son of God, the Holy,
The Saviour of the earth?

O Comforter, have mercy,
Chase all my doubts away,
And when I see but darkly,
Lead to the clearer day.

Lead where with sweetest music,
To all by fear dismayed,
The Voice of Christ is speaking
‘Tis I, be not afraid.

It bloweth where It listeth,
The Wind, the Breath divine,
Whence coming, whither going,
I know not, yet ’tis mine.

For when I pray It prayeth,
And intercedes with me;
Speaks what I cannot utter,
Shows what I do not see.

O Wisdom none can measure,
O Fire of Light and Love,
Lead through the present twilight
To perfect light above;

Where in the wedding garment
The guests shall be arrayed,
And taste the royal Banquet,
The Lamb of God hath made.

Words: William Chatterton Dix, 1867.
Tune: “St. Victor” Richard Redhead, 19th C.
Meter: 76.76

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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 Hymns By The Greats, Pentecost, The Church Year, The Holy Eucharist, The Holy Spirit, The Sacraments, William Chatterton Dix. Bookmark the permalink.

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