Bethlehem, of noblest cities
None can once with thee compare;
Thou alone the Lord from heaven
Didst for us incarnate bear.
Fairer than the beam of morning
Was the star that told his birth.
To the lands their God announcing,
Hid beneath a form of earth.
By its lambent beauty guided,
See the Eastern kings appear;
See them bend their gifts to offer,
Purest incense, gold, and myrrh.
Sacred gifts of mystic meaning;
Incense doth the God disclose,
Gold a royal child proclaimeth,
Myrrh a future tomb foreshews.
Holy Jesu, in thy brightness
To the Gentile world reveal’d,
Still to babes thyself disclosing.
Ever from the proud conceal’d;
Honour, glory, virtue, merit,
Be to thee, O Virgin’s Son,
With the Father and the Spirit,
While eternal ages run.
Henry Formby, ed., First Series of Hymns and Songs for the Use of Catholic Schools and Families (London: Burns and Lambert, 1853).