THE CHRISTIAN FEAST
Non ex virili semine, Sed mystico spiramine, Verbum Dei factum caro, Fructusque ventris floruit." * 2 . . • •
Another fine hymn often heard in English churches is of a slightly later date. " Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's love begotten ") is a cento from a larger hymn by the Spanish poet Prudentius (c. 348-413). Prudentius did not write for liturgical purposes, and it was several centuries before " Corde natus " was adopted into the cycle of Latin hymns. Its elaborate rhetoric is very unlike the severity of " Veni, redemptor gentium," but again the note is purely theological ; the Incarnation as a world-event is its theme. It sings the Birth of Him who is
" Corde natus ex Parentis Ante mundi exordium, Alpha et O cognominatus, Ipse fons et clausula. Omnium quae sunt, fuerunt, Quaeque post futura sunt Saeculorum saeculis." f 3
Other early hymns are "A solis ortus cardine " (" From east to west, from shore to shore"), by a certain Coelius Sedulius (d. c. 450), still sung by the Roman Church at Lauds on Christmas Day, and " Jesu, redemptor omnium " (sixth century), the office hymn at Christmas Vespers. Like the poems of Ambrose and Prudentius, they are in classical metres, unrhymed, and based upon quantity, not accent, and they have the same general character, doctrinal rather than humanly tender.
In the ninth and tenth centuries arose a new form of hymnody, the Prose or Sequence sung after the Gradual (the anthem between the Epistle and Gospel at Mass). The earliest writer of sequences was Notker, a monk of the abbey of St. Gall, near
* No. 55 in " Hymns Ancient and Modern " (Ordinary Edition). t No. 56 in "Hymns Ancient and Modern" (Ordinary Edition).