Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Feast of the Annunciation

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

“For know a blessèd mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy child shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“My soul shall laud and magnify God's holy Name."
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
And faithful folk throughout the world will ever say—
“Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Basque carol;
tr. Sabine Baring-Gould, 19th c.; alt.

Yes, because of Easter week the feast has been transferred this year, but this is the traditional date. Baring-Gould, of course, has a much more familiar hymn text to his credit.

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