Lyra Ecclesiastica/Second Series/Thomas Aquinas his Hymn on Corpus Christi

For other English-language translations of this work, see Lauda, Sion.

S. THOMAS AQUINAS HIS HYMN ON CORPUS CHRISTI.

Zion, thy Redeemer praising.
Songs of joy to Him upraising,
Laud, thy pastor and thy guide:
Swell thy notes most high and daring;
For His praise is past declaring,
And thy loftiest powers beside.

'Tis a theme with praise that gloweth,
For the bread that life bestoweth
Goes this day before us out;
Which, His holy supper taking,
To the brethren twelve His breaking
None hath ever called in doubt.

Full then be our praise and sounding,
Modest and with joy abounding
Be our mind's triumphant state,
For the festal's prosecution,
When the first blessed institution
Of this feast we celebrate.

In the new King's new libation,
In the new law's new oblation
Ends the antient Paschal rite;
Antient forms new substance chaceth,
Typic shadows truth displaceth,
Day dispels the gloom of night.

What He did at supper seated,
Christ injoyned to be repeated,
When His love we celebrate.
Thus, obeying His dictation,
Bread and wine of our salvation
We the victim consecrate.

'Tis for Christian faith asserted,
Bread is into flesh converted,
Into blood the holy wine.
Sight and intellect transcending,
Nature's laws to marvel bending,
'Tis confirmed by faith divine.

Under either kind remaining,
Form, not substance, still retaining,
Wondrous things our spirit sees.
Flesh and blood thy palate staining,
Yet still Christ intire remaining,
Under either species.

All untorn for eating given,
Undivided, and unriven,
Whole He's taken and unrent;
Be there one or crowds surrounding,
He is equally abounding,
Nor, tho' eaten, ever spent.

Both to good and bad 'tis broken.
But on each a difieient token
Or of life or death attends.
Life to good, to bad damnation:
Lo! of one same manducation
How dissimilar the ends.

When the Priest the victim breaketh,
See thy faith in nowise shaketh,
Know that every fragment taketh
All that 'neath the whole there lies.
This in him no fracture maketh,
'Tis the figure only breaketh,
Form, or state, no change there taketh
Place in what it signifies.

Bread, that angels eat in heaven,
Now becomes the pilgrim's leaven,
Bread in truth to children given,
That must ne'er to dogs be thrown.
He, in ancient types disguised,
Was with Isaac sacrificed,
For the feast a lamb devised,
Manna to the fathers shown.

Bread, whose shepherd-care doth tend us,
Jesu Christ, thy mercy send us,
Do thou feed us, thou defend us,
Lead us where true joys attend us,
In the land where life is given:
Thou all ken and might possessing,
Mercies aye to us largessing,
Make us share thy cup of blessing,
Heritage and love's caressing
With the denizens of heaven.

Amen.