The Royal Banners forward go

Full Text

1 The royal banners forward go;
The cross shows forth redemption's flow,
Where He, by whom our flesh was made,
Our ransom in His flesh has paid:

2 Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life's torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in the precious flood
Where flowed the water and the blood.

3 Fulfilled is all that David told
In sure prophetic song of old.
That God the nations' king should be
And reign in triumph from the tree.

4 On whose hard arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world's ransom hung,
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

5 O Tree of beauty, tree most fair,
Ordained those holy limbs to bear:
Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough
Proclaims the King of Glory now.

6 To Thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done,
As by the cross Thou dost restore,
So guide and keep us evermore.


Source: Lutheran Service Book #455

Author: Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus

Fortunatus, Venantius Honorius Clementianus, was born at Ceneda, near Treviso, about 530. At an early age he was converted to Christianity at Aquileia. Whilst a student at Ravenna he became almost blind, and recovered his sight, as he believed miraculously, by anointing his eyes with some oil taken from a lamp that burned before the altar of St. Martin of Tours, in a church in that town. His recovery induced him to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Martin, at Tours, in 565, and that pilgrimage resulted in his spending the rest of his life in Gaul. At Poitiers he formed a romantic, though purely platonic, attachment for Queen Rhadegunda, the daughter of Bertharius, king of the Thuringians, and the wife, though separated from him, of Lot… Go to person page >

Translator: J. M. Neale

Neale, John Mason, D.D., was born in Conduit Street, London, on Jan. 24, 1818. He inherited intellectual power on both sides: his father, the Rev. Cornelius Neale, having been Senior Wrangler, Second Chancellor's Medallist, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and his mother being the daughter of John Mason Good, a man of considerable learning. Both father and mother are said to have been "very pronounced Evangelicals." The father died in 1823, and the boy's early training was entirely under the direction of his mother, his deep attachment for whom is shown by the fact that, not long before his death, he wrote of her as "a mother to whom I owe more than I can express." He was educated at Sherborne Grammar School, and was afterwards… Go to person page >


Venantius Fortunatus wrote this hymn in honor of the founding of the monastery of Poiters. It is believed to have been first sung on November 19, 569 as part of a procession that brought the most revered relic of the Catholic church, a piece of the cross of Christ, from Constantinople to the French monastery. Nowhere is the work of the cross so poignantly portrayed as in theses immortal lines. --Greg Scheer, 1997




Percy C. Buck (b. West Ham, Essex, England, 1871; d. Hindhead, Haslemere, Surrey, England, 1947), director of music at the well-known British boys' academy Harrow School, wrote GONFALON ROYAL for “The royal banners forward go” (gonfalon is an ancient Anglo-Norman word meaning banner). Buck publi…

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Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #243
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Include 90 pre-1979 instances