The Tractarian priest and poet Gerard Moultrie (1829–1885), was ordained in 1858, and contributed an appendix to John Mason Neale’s Essays on Liturgiology and Church History
of 1863. He was principally a liturgical historian and textual archaeologist. Moultrie’s verse is almost entirely religious; he published a book of hymns for saints’ days and seasons in 1867, and translated a variety of hymns from Greek, Latin and German. Let all mortal flesh keep silence
is a translation of a Greek cherubic hymn from the fourth-century Syriac Liturgy of St James, widely acknowledged to be the oldest Christian liturgy with roots possibly in the mid- to late first century.
The tune Picardy is a French folk melody and was first published in the 1848 Chansons populaires des provinces de France. Ralph Vaughan Williams also used an arrangement of it in the 1906 edition of The English Hymnal. The strong, rich modality is perhaps evocative of the perceived mysticism of the Christian East.
from notes by The Revd Dr James Hawkey © 2014