Why, impious Herod, shouldst thou fear

Why, impious Herod, shouldst thou fear. Sedulius* (fl. 425-450), translated by Percy Dearmer* (1867-1936). The Latin text, beginning ‘Hostis Herodes impie*/ Christum venire quid times?’ is from Sedulius’s Paean Alphabeticus de Christo (‘a triumphal alphabetical song about Christ’), found in an 8th-century manuscript, and in editions of Sedulius’s work. It had twenty-three 4-line stanzas: these are the source of two hymns, this one and ‘A solis ortus cardine’*, translated by John Ellerton* as ‘From east to west, from shore to shore’*. Dearmer’s translation was made for EH, using stanzas 8, 9, 11 and 13 of the Latin text, and adding a doxology. Another translation, ‘How vain the cruel Herod’s...

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