I’ll throw in some more obscure Western hymns, too. This one was written by Venantius Honorius Fortunatus in 569 (he’s the author of one of the best Christmas songs ever, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”), matched in the 1940 Episcopal hymnal with the tune Vexilla Regis, of Plainsong derivation.

The royal banners forward go,
The cross shines forth in mystic glow
Where he, as man, who gave man breath,
Now bows beneath the yoke of death.

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
How God the nation’s King should be,
For God is reigning from the tree.

O tree of beauty, tree most fair,
Ordained those holy limbs to bear;
Gone is thy shame, each crimson’d bough
Proclaims the King of glory now.

Blest tree, whose chosen branches bore
The wealth that did the world restore,
The price of humankind to pay,
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

To thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done.
As by the cross thou dost restore,
So rule and guide us evermore.

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