O Happy Day, When First Was Poured

This hymn was used for Nocturns on the Feast of the Lord’s Circumcision (Octave of Christmas) in the Paris Breviary(1736). 

This is the original text of the hymn from John Chandler’s 1837 Hymns of the Primitive Church:

Oh, happy day, when first was poured
The blood of our redeeming Lord!
Oh, happy day, when first began
His sufferings for sinful man!

Just entered on this world of woe,
His blood already learned to flow :
His future death was thus expressed,
And thus His early love confessed.

From heaven descending, to fulfil
The mandates of his Father’s will,
E’en now behold the victim lie,
The Lamb of God, prepared to die;

Beneath the knife behold The Child,
The innocent, the undefiled;
For captives He the ransom pays,
For lawless man the law obeys.

Lord, circumcise our hearts, we pray;
Our fleshy natures purge away;
Thy name, thy likeness may they bear
Yea, stamp thy holy image there!

The Father’s name we loudly raise,
The Son, the Virgin-born, we praise:
The Holy Ghost we all adore,
One God, both now and evermore. Amen.

Words: Abbé Sébastien Besnault, d. 1724; tr. John Chandler, 1837.
Tune: “Das Walt’ Gott Vater” Daniel Vetter, ca. 1718.
Alternate Tune:Angelus” Georg Joseph, 1657.
Meter: 88.88

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

O Blessèd Day, when first was poured
The Blood of our Redeeming Lord!
О Blessèd Day, when first began
His sufferings borne for sinful man!

Scarce entered on this life of woe,
His Infant Blood begins to flow;—
A foretaste of His Death He feels,
An earnest of His Love reveals.

From heaven descending to fulfil
The bidding of His Father’s Will,
A Victim even now He lies
Before the day of sacrifice.

For love of us His woes begin;
The Sinless suffers for our sin;
The Law’s great Maker for our aid
Obedient to the Law is made.

The wound He through the Law endures
Our freedom from that Law secures;—
Henceforth a holier Law prevails,
The Law of Love which never fails.

Lord, circumcise our hearts, we pray,
And take what is not Thine away;—
Write Thine Own Name within our hearts,
Thy Law upon our inmost parts.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be;
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore. Amen.

This is another common, lightly altered version of this hymn:

O happy day, when first was poured
The blood of our redeeming Lord!
O happy day, when first began
His sufferings for sinful man!

Just entered on this world of woe,
His blood already learned to flow;
His future death was thus expressed,
And thus His early love confessed.

From Heaven descending to fulfill
The mandates of His Father’s will,
E’en now behold the victim lie,
The Lamb of God, prepared to die!

Lord, circumcise our hearts, we pray,
Our fleshly natures purge away;
Thy name, Thy likeness may they bear:
Yea, stamp Thy holy image there!

O Lord, the virgin born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost forevermore.

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. The Presentation of the Lord, Christmas, English Translation of Non-English Hymn, Hymns By The Greats, John Chandler, Matins/Office of Readings, Non-English Hymns, Paris Breviary, Sébastien Besnault, The Church Year, The Circumcision of the Lord (Jan 1. (EF pre-1960)), The Holy Rosary, The Joyful Mysteries, The Liturgy of Hours/Breviary. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to O Happy Day, When First Was Poured

  1. Pingback: Felix Dies Quam Proprio | Saint Augustine's Lyre

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