A Patristic Poem for the Week

I had a hard time thinking of a poem for this week. Then, as I was walking along today, I was thinking of the Patristic texts I’ve been reading, in what order, how I came across each. Apart from the creed, this is probably the first Patristic text I encountered. It is from the Liturgy of St. James, c. 5th century, best appreciated whilst sung to its solemn, haunting, beautiful tune:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded, for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to us approacheth, our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary, as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture, in the Body and the Bood,
He will give to all the faithful his own Self for heavenly Food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth from the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish as the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged Seraph; Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil the faces to the Presence, as with ceaseless voice they cry,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Lord most high.


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