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Gregorian Chant, named after Pope Gregory I (d.604), is the term applied to the vast repertoire of liturgical plainsong assembled over the course of several hundred years, roughly 700-1300 A.D. There are almost 3,000 extant chants in the Gregorian repertoire, with texts specific to each day of the liturgical year in the Roman Catholic Church. The text for Corde natus ex parentis, or “Of the Father’s love begotten,” is taken from the Hymnus omnis horae (“Hymn for every hour”), a 37-stanza poem found in the Cathemerinon, a collection of hymns by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-c.410). Parts of this text were used in the rites of York and Hereford, during Christmastide for festivals of the Blessed Virgin.

Corde natus ex parentis
Ante mundi exordium
A et O cognominatus,
Ipse fons et clausula
quae sunt, fuerunt,
Quaeque post futura sunt.
Saeculorum saeculis.

O beatus ortus ille,
Virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem,
Feta Sancto Spiritu,
Et puer redemptor orbis
Os sacratum protulit.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Ecce, quem vates vetustis
Concinebant saeculis,
Quem prophetarum fideles
Paginae spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim;
Cuncta conlaudent eum.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Te senes et te iuventus,
Parvulorum te chorus,
Turba matrum, virginumque,
Simplices puellulae,
Voce concordes pudicis
Perstrepant concentibus.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Psallat altitudo caeli,
Psallite omnes angeli,
Quidquid est virtutis usquam
Psallat in laudem Dei,
Nulla linguarum silescat,
Vox et omnis consonet.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He, Omnium
Of the things that are, that have been,
And the future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore.

O that birth forever blessed,
When the virgin, full of grace
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face.
Evermore and evermore.

This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore.

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore.