… for this feast day of the first “Baptist”: Saint John the Baptist, the kinsman of Christ.
Let thine example, holy John, remind us
Ere we can meetly sing thy deeds of wonder,
Hearts must be chastened, and the bonds that bind us
Lo! a swift angel, from the skies descending,
Tells to thy father what shall be thy naming,
All thy life’s greatness to its bitter ending
And what a splendour and a revelation
Came to each mother, at thy joyful leaping,
Greeting thy Monarch, King of every nation,
In the womb sleeping.
Angels in orders everlasting praise thee,
God, in thy triune Majesty tremendous;
Hark to the prayers we penitents upraise thee:
Save and defend us.
~ Paulus Diaconus, 8th cent. Trans. R. H. R.