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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’ (Early Christian Hymns, 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...

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