Bethlehem Of Noblest Cities

This hymn for Epiphany was written by English clergyman Edward Casswall (1814-1878), in approx 1849

It is one translation of O sola magnarum urbium, Cathemerinon which is attributed to Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-405). Other songs based on this translation include Earth Has Many A Noble City and Bethlehem, Not The Least Of Cities.

With meter 87 87, tunes it is set to include:
  • STUGGART from Christian Friedrich Witt's Psalmodia Sacra, 1715, and adapted by Henry John Gauntlett (1805-1876)
  • ST. OSWALD (Dykes) by John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876)
  • BRONZEVILLE, possibly by Kevin Allen
  • WOODHAVEN by Howard Helvey (ref)


Downloads



Examples

Choral setting - tune TBA:



Unaccompanied solo singer. tune BRONZEVILLE:



Instrumental - organ. Tune STUGGART:


Lyrics

Traditional language

Bethlehem, of noblest cities
None can once with thee compare;
Thou alone the Lord from heaven
Didst for us Incarnate bear.

Fairer than the sun at morning
Was the star that told his birth;
To the lands their God announcing,
Hid beneath a form of earth.

By its lambent beauty guided,
See, the Eastern Kings appear;
See them bend, their gifts to offer,
Gifts of incense, gold, and myrrh.

Offerings of mystick meaning!
Incense doth the God disclose;
Gold a Royal child proclaimeth;
Myrrh a future tomb foreshows.

Holy Jesu! in thy brightness
To the Gentile world displayed!
With the Father, and the Spirit,
Endless praise to Thee be paid.

Modern English

Bethlehem, of noblest cities
None can once with you compare;
You alone the Lord from heaven
Did for us Incarnate bear.

Fairer than the sun at morning
Was the star that told his birth;
To the lands their God announcing,
Hid beneath a form of earth.

By its lambent beauty guided,
See, the Eastern Kings appear;
See them bend, their gifts to offer,
Gifts of incense, gold, and myrrh.

Offerings of mystic meaning!
Incense does the God disclose;
Gold a royal child proclaims;
Myrrh a future tomb foreshows.

Holy Jesu! in your brightness
To the Gentile world displayed!
With the Father, and the Spirit,
Endless praise to You be paid.

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