Wednesday, August 6, 2014

John Mason Neale, RIP: On the Feast of Transfiguration

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord--and it is also the anniversary of the death of John Mason Neale, the great Anglican hymnist and translator. He died in 1866. He translated this Greek hymn of St. Cosmas, the Melodist for the Feast of the Transfiguration. St. Cosmas, the Melodist was the bishop of Maiuma in the eighth century.

The choirs of ransomed Israel,
The Red Sea’s passage o’er,
Uprais’d the hymn of triumph
Upon the further shore:
And shouted, as the foeman
Was whelmed beneath the sea,—
‘Sing we to Judah’s Saviour,
For glorified is He!’

Amongst His Twelve Apostles
CHRIST spake the Words of Life,
And showed a realm of beauty
Beyond a world of strife:
‘When all My FATHER’s glory
Shall shine expressed in Me,
Then praise Him, then exalt Him,
For magnified is He!’

Upon the Mount of Tabor
The promise was made good;
When, baring all the Godhead,
In light itself He stood:
And they, in awe beholding,
The Apostolic Three,
Sang out to GOD their Saviour,
For magnified was He!

In days of old, on Sinai,
The LORD of Sabaoth came,
In majesty of terror,
In thunder-cloud and flame:
On Tabor, with the glory
Of sunniest light for vest,
The excellence of beauty
In JESUS was expressed.

All hours and days inclined there,
And did Thee worship meet,
The sun himself adored Thee,
And bowed him at Thy feet:
While Moses and Elias,
Upon the Holy Mount,
The co-eternal glory
Of CHRIST our GOD recount.

O holy, wonderous Vision!
But what, when this life past,
The beauty of Mount Tabor
Shall end in Heav’n at last?
But what, when all the glory
Of uncreated light
Shall be the promised guerdon
Of them that win the fight?

Image credit: Wikipedia commons, under Creative Commons Attribution license.

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