Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences/Exite, Sion Filiae

Mediæval Hymns and Sequences  (1867)  edited by John Mason Neale
Exite, Sion Filiae by Anonymous, translated by John Mason Neale


Exite, Sion Filiæ[1]

Daughters of Sion, see your King!
Go forth, go forth to meet Him!
Your Solomon is hastening
Where that dear flock shall greet Him!
The sceptre and the crown by right
He wears, in robe of purple dight.

Your Solomon, the Prince of Peace,
Bears not His Mother's laurel:
But with the olive bids to cease
The long and bloody quarrel:
Jesus, the Son of God Most High,
Offers His peace to them that die.

It glitters fair, His Diadem,
That Thorns are there entwining:
And from the Red sea comes each gem
That in its wreath is shining:
Their radiance glows like stars at night:
With precious blood-drops are they bright.

The Royal Sceptre that He bears
Beneath Whom nature quaketh,
No monarch's pride and pomp declares,
A Reed, it feebly shaketh:
For iron sceptre ne'er possess'd
The power to guide a human breast.

The Festive Purple of the Lord,
Is here no garment stately:
A vest, by very slaves abhorred;
—The worm hath tinged it lately:[2]
"I am a Worm," of old said He,—
And what its toils have tinged, ye see.

We therefore to the King of kings
Bow lowly, from Him learning
The pomp and pride that this world brings
To make our boast in spurning:
Such love the members best adorns,
For whom the Head was crowned with thorns. Amen.




  1. There is another, but inferior hymn, with the same commencement. The reference, it need hardly be said, is to Canticles iii. 11.
  2. This very, perhaps too, bold metaphor is very seldom employed elsewhere in mediæval poetry. In the Compline Hymn for Whit-Sunday in the Sarum Breviary, among other titles of our Lord, we find

    Agnus, Ovis, Vitulus, Serpens, Aries, Leo, Vermis.