This is the 12th entry in the Advent-Hymn-of-the-Day Project. Today, once again, we hear the voice of John the Baptizer, prcolaiming the coming of Messiah.
The music is composed by William Henry Monk (1823-1889). Monk was the editor of "Hymns Ancient and Modern" one of the most important of all English hymnals. He wrote many well-known hymntunes, "Eventide" linked with the words of "Abide with me", is certainly the most beloved and famous of his output. Monk was a high churchman, and was one of the first Anglicans to re-introduce plainsong into the Anglican service. The name of this particular tune is "Merton".
The words are by Edward Caswall (1814-1878), an Anglican priest who converted to Roman Catholicism. His transaltions from the Latin language into English rank as some of the best and most beautiful, and this one, "Vox clara ecce intonat" is one of his best.
A note about the performance: I played this as I used to play it for the Advent Procession with Carols. The choir is standing halfway down the dark nave, surrounding by candelight. During the singing of this hymn, the procession moves down the nave and into the Choir, the singers entering the stalls as they sing. The tempo corresponds to the liturgical action taking place. Although it is somewhat "anticlimactic," the "Amen" is correct, and IS sung.
Hark! a herald voice is calling:
'Christ is nigh,' it seems to say;
'Cast away the dreams of darkness,
O ye children of the day!'
Startled at the solemn warning,
Let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
Shines upon the morning skies.
Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from heaven;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven.
So when next He come in glory,
And earth's final hour draws near,
My He then as our defender
On the clouds of heaven appear.
Honour, glory, virtue, merit,
To the Father and the Son,
With the co-eternal Spirit,
While unending ages run. Amen