Vexilla Regis Prodeunt (“The King’s bright banner gleams above”)
Translation: Fr. Frederick C. Husenbeth
FIFTH TUNE: “Woolmer’s” • 88 88 (LM)

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Additional information about Hymn 532

Father Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923) calls Vexilla Regis Prodeunt “perhaps the greatest of all hymns.” It was written by the legendary Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers (who died circa 600AD). Bishop Fortunatus wrote many famous hymns: Pange Lingua Gloriosi, Salve Festa Dies, Quem Terra Pontus Sidera, and so forth. Traditionally, it was sung at Vespers in Passion-tide and at the procession with the SANCTISSIMUM on Good Friday morning. The translation comes from page 191 of Vespers Book for the Use of the Laity (1841), by Rev. Frederick C. Husenbeth, a Catholic priest, who also edited The Roman Missal for the Use of the Laity (1848). The melody is attributed to Frederick A. G. Ouseley (d. 1889), a professor of music at Oxford. The first few notes of the melody sound similar to “God Save the King.”