Words: Hymnum canentes martyrum by the Venerable Bede
Translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866).
Notes and Source: George Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas, Easter, And Ascensiontide, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, ca. 1919), Carol #79
1. The Hymn for conqu'ring Martyrs
The Victor Innocents we praise:
Whom in their woe earth cast away,
But heav'n with joy received today.
Whose Angels see the Father's face,
World without end, and hymn his grace:
And while they chant unceasing lays,
The Hymn for conqu'ring Martyrs raise.
2. By that accursed Monarch
Their loving Maker bade them reign:
With him they dwell, no more distrest,
In the fair Land of light and rest:
He gives them mansions, one and all,
In that his heavenly Father's hall:
Thus have they changed their loss for gain,
By that accursed Monarch slain.
3. A voice from Ramah was there
A voice of weeping and lament:
When Rachel mourn'd the children's cre,
Whom for the tyrant's sword she bare.
Triumphal is their glory now,
Whom earthly torments could now bow:
What time, both far and near that went,
A voice from Ramah was there sent.
4. Fear not, O little flock and
The lion that your life oppress'd!
To heavenly pastures ever new
The heavenly Shepherd leadeth you:
Who, dwelling now on Sion's hill,
The Lamb's dear footsteps follow still:
By tyrant there no more distrest,
Fear not, O little flock and blest!
5. And every tear is wiped away
By your death Father's hands for aye;
Death hath no power to hurt you more,
Whose own is Life's eternal store.
Who sow their seed, and, sowing weep,
In everlasting joy shall reap:
What time they shine in heavenly day,
And every tear is wiped away.
6. O City blest o'er all the
Who gloriest in the Saviour's birth!
Whose are his earliest Martyrs dear
By kindred and by triumph here.
None from henceforth may shall thee small.
Of rival towns thou passest all;
In whom our Monarch had his birth,
O City blest o'er al the earth!
This is one of many songs which relate to the Holy Innocents, whose feast day is December 28. For more, please see The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents.
Sheet Music from George
Ratcliffe Woodward, ed., The Cowley Carol Book For Christmas,
Easter, and Ascensiontide, Second Series (London: A. R. Mowbray &
Co., Ltd, ca. 1919), Carol #79
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Editor's Note: The editor's of The English Hymnal (London, Oxford University Press, 1906, #35, pp. 58-9) provide the tune Wer Da Wonet (D. L. M.), Melody in 'St. Gall Gesangbuch,' 1868, from Vehe's Gesangbuchlein, 1537: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML.