Hull (William Billings)

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Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-05-09).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 71 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition. The other seven stanzas of Relly's hymn added below.
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-05-09).   Score information: 7 x 10 in (landscape), 1 page, 71 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added. The remaining seven stanzas of Relly's hymn added below.

General Information

Title: Hull
First Line: We celebrate the praise today
Composer: William Billings
Lyricist: James Relly

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: Sacred   Meter: 886. 886

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1786 in The Suffolk Harmony

Description: First published in The Suffolk Harmony, 1786, pp. 46-47. Words by James Relly, 1758, his Hymn 58 of Part 1.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

We celebrate the praise today,
Of Godhead manifest in clay,
And of a woman born!
The promised Son to us is given,
The glories of indulgent heaven,
Our nature doth adorn.

Let it be told to distant lands,
How softly wrapped in swaddling-bands,
And in a manger laid,
Was He, whom we with joy confess,
The glorious Lord, our righteousness!
Born of the favored maid.

Long did the saints with ardor sigh
To see His day, and thus did cry,
"Desire of nations, come!"
More blest are we who see and prove
The fullness of the Father's love,
Born from the virgin's womb!

The Lord Himself hath given the sign
Of richest grace, and love divine,
Promised of old to man;
How that a virgin should conceive:
The wondrous tidings we believe,
And praise her first-born Son.


We join with angel hosts to cry,
Glory to God, to God on high;
Peace on rebellious Earth:
To man good will abounds from heaven;
The proof of all is richly given
In this mysterious birth!

What things are these which angels say?
A Savior born! Yea, born today,
In David's native town:
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord;
For so declares the heavenly word;
Hear, wonder, and bow down!

The wonderful, the holy child,
The everlasting Father stilled,
The mighty God art Thou;
The counselor, the prince of peace,
Whose glorious kingdom ne'er will cease,
Nor wars, nor tumults know.

The cloud on our nativity
Dispels in this Thy mystery,
Thou holy, undefiled:
Our sinful nature's born again
In this Thy birth, without a stain,
And can no more be spoiled.