A Christmas carol based on the Cherubic Hymn from the Divine Liturgy of St James. Since I was brought up in a relatively devout Southern Baptist household, we attended church every Sunday almost without exception, and so I came to know many of the hymns by heart. However, being of a melancholy turn of mind, I tend to prefer songs in minor keys, which most hymns aren't. And so, although so far as I can remember, we never sang it in church, I learned this song simply because it was, along with "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "What Child Is This?" one of few carols in a minor key (G minor, in this case, at least in the hymnbook we had). Later, when I came to be interested in theology, the fact that it was taken from the most ancient still-used (though rarely) liturgy, rather than the upstart sentiments of my parents' Protestantism, interested me still further.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand.
Ponder nothing earthly-minded
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God 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 heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way
As the Light of Light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of Hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At his feet the six-winged seraph
Cherubim with sleepless eye
Veil their faces to the Presence
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
Lord most high!
Only the first, third, and fourth verses here are from my own memory, as evidently the 1976 edition of the Baptist Hymnal left out the second verse--easy enough to believe, given the verse's content. Tiefling was kind enough to /msg me with the text, supplied from the New English Hymnal. He also tells me that the normal tune it's given is an old French folk melody (which I had known, but forgot) called "Picardy" (which I never knew), and that it's sometimes sung to the tune of "Pange Lingua."