Sing we the Praises of the Great Forerunner

This is a hymn of praise, about John the Baptist.

It is based on the Latin hymn, ‘Ut queant laxis’*, which is attributed to Paul the Deacon* (ca. 730- ca. 799). This had thirteen verses and a doxology, and was the the principal hymn for St John the Baptist’s day in medieval breviaries. 

The English translation was written by English college chaplain and author, Charles Stanley Phillips (1883-1949).

With meter 11 11 11 5, tunes it is set to include:
  • LOBE DEN HERREN - composer unknown, from Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1668  
  • DIVA SERVATRIX, composer unknown, from the Bayeux Antiphoner, 1739
  • CHRISTE FONS JUGIS by Philippe Goibaud Du Bois  (1626-1694)


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Choir and congregation with organ:

Instrumental - organ, tune DIVA SERVATRIX:


Sing we the praises of the great forerunner,
tell forth the mighty wonders of his story:
so may his Master cleanse our lips and make them
fit to extol him.

Lo, God’s high herald, swift from heaven descending,
gives to thy father tidings of thy coming,
telling thy name and all the tale of marvels
that shall befall thee.

Oft had the prophets in the time before thee
spoken in vision of the Daystar’s coming;
but when he came, ’twas thou that didst proclaim him
our holy Saviour.

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