A solis ortus cardine

A solis ortus cardine. Sedulius* (5th century, fl. 425-450). This is the opening of an abecedary* poem by Sedulius, Paean Alphabeticus de Christo, in which each verse begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. The poem, in A.S. Walpole’s words ‘Gives a brief description of the wonders of Christ’s earthly life in order to shew that He was both man and God’ (1922, p. 150). Walpole prints the whole text (pp. 151-6), part of which forms ‘Hostis Herodes impie’*. Mentioned by Bede* (see also Latin hymns*), ‘A solis…’ was used on various occasions, but has been associated with the Christmas season since the 9th century New Hymnal (see ‘Medieval hymns and hymnals’*); it is often used for...

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