Brightest and best of the sons of the morning

Full Text

1 Brightest and best of the stars of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

2 Cold on His cradle the dew-drops are shining,
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

3 Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Odours of Edom, and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

4 Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favour secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

5 Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 1871

Author: Reginald Heber

Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father's church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include "Holy, Holy, Holy," are still in use today. -- Greg Scheer, 1995… Go to person page >

Notes

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning. Bp .R. Heber. [Epiphany.] First published in the Christian Observer, Nov. 1811, p. 697, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines (the last being the first repeated); and again in his posthumous Hymns, &c, 1827, p. 25. Few hymns of merit have troubled compilers more than this. Some have held that its use involved the worshipping of a star, whilst others have been offended with its metre as being too suggestive of a solemn dance. Cotterill gave it in the 8th edition, 1819, of his Selection and omitted it from the 9th, 1820; and Elliott, following the example in detail, had it in his 1st edition Psalms and Hymns, 1835, and dropped it from the 2nd, which others have done much the same. It has, however, survived these changes, and has become one of the most widely used of the Bishop's hymns. In the American Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns for the Worship of God, Richmond, 1867, No. 69, it is given in an altered form as "Hail the blest morn! see the Great Mediator," and attributed in the Index to Tate and Brady. The Rev. R. Bingham has given a Latin rendering in his Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871: "Stella, micans coelo nitido magis omnibus una."

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Timeline

Media

The Cyber Hymnal #630
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Worship and Rejoice #235

Instances

Instances (32)TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
African American Heritage Hymnal #219Image
Chalice Hymnal #174Text
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #92Text
Christmas Favorites #39
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #190
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #327Text
Common Praise (1998) #159Text
Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #86
Complete Mission Praise #65
Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #169Text
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #303Image
Gather Comprehensive #379Text
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #117TextImage
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #118TextImage
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #47
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #338b
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #338a
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #71
Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #272
Lutheran Service Book #400Text
Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #67TextImage
Rejoice in the Lord #230Text
Revival Hymns and Choruses #169
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #346
The Christian Life Hymnal #142
The Cyber Hymnal #630TextAudioScore
The New Century Hymnal #156Image
The New Century Hymnal #157Image
The Worshiping Church #182TextImageFlexscore
Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #310
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #206TextImage
Worship and Rejoice #235TextImageAudioScore



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