Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
Afar from Where the Sun Doth Rise
A Solis Ortus Cardine
By Coelius Sedulius (Died c 450)
Trans Fr Ronald A Knox (1888-1957)
Afar from where the sun doth rise
To lands beneath the western skies,
Homage to Christ our King we pay,
Born of a Virgin’s womb this day
Blessed Creator, Thou didst take__
A servant’s likeness for our sake,
And didst in flesh our flesh restore
To bid Thy creature live once more.
Chaste was the womb where Thou didst dwell,
Of heavenly grace the hidden cell;
Nor might the blessed Maid proclaim
Whence her dread Guest in secret came.
Down from on high God came to rest__
His glory in a sinless breast;
Obedience at His word believed,
And virgin innocence conceived.
Ere long, that holy child she bore
By Gabriel’s message named before,
Whom yet unborn, with eager pride,
The swift forerunner prophesied.
Fast doth He sleep, where straw doth spread,
A humble manger for His bed.
A Mother’s milk that strength renewed,
Which gives the birds of heaven their food.
Glory to God, the angels cry;
Earth hears the echo from on high;
Mankind’s true Shepherd and it’s Lord
By shepherd hearts is first adored.
“A Solis Ortus Cardine…” (Latin for “From the Pivot of the Sun’s Rising”) is a poem by Christian Poet, Coelius Sedulius (Died c 450), recounting Christ’s life from His birth to His resurrection. Its 23 verses each begin with a consecutive letter of the Latin alphabet, making the poem an abecedarius. It is one of the oldest parts of the Roman Catholic liturgy, with two hymns formed from the first seven and four later verses.
There have been monastic translations into Anglo-Saxon and later translations into other languages..