VIRGIN, WHOLLY MARVELLOUS
Virgin, wholly marvellous,
who didst bear God’s Son for us,
worthless is my tongue and weak
of thy purity to speak.
Who can praise thee as they ought?
Gifts, with every blessing fraught,
gifts that bring the eternal life,
thou didst grant us, Maiden-Wife.
God became thy lowly Son,
made himself thy little one,
raising us to tell thy worth
high in heav’n as here on earth.
Heav’n and earth, and all that is
thrill today with ecstasies,
chanting glory unto thee,
singing praise with festal glee.
Cherubim with fourfold face,
are no peers of thine in grace;
and the six-wing’d seraphim
shine, amid thy splendour, dim.
Purer art thou than are all
heav’nly hosts angelical,
who delight with pomp and state
on thy beauteous Child to wait.
(Saint Ephrem Syrus, c, 307-373 – Tr. J. W. Atkinson 1866-1921)