The Twelve Songs of Christmas – Day 5

December 29

Gerard Moultrie (1829-1885) translated the following chant from the original Greek, and the famous English choral composer Ralph Vaughan Williams set it to a French folk tune. “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is often used as a hymn for communion, when Christians contemplate the meaning and destiny of Christ’s incarnation.

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”

Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For with blessing in his hand
Christ our Lord to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

King of Kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of Lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heav’nly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads his vanguard on the way,
As the light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the pow’rs of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six wing’d seraph;
Cherubim with sleepless eye
Veil their faces to the presence
As with ceaseless voice they cry,
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord most high.