I don’t remember where I first came across this (I don’t surf the internet much these days) but several blogs have linked to this hymn which is the earliest known manuscript of a Christian hymn to contain both lyrics and (some) musical notation.
It dates from the 3rd cent. and was discovered in 1918 in Egypt. Here is the translation taken from the Wikipedia page dedicated to the hymn:
- .. Let it be silent
- Let the Luminous stars not shine,
- Let the winds (?) and all the noisy rivers die down;
- And as we hymn the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
- Let all the powers add “Amen Amen”
- Empire, praise always, and glory to God,
- The sole giver of good things, Amen Amen.
(translation from West, M. L. 1992. Ancient Greek Music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814975-1)