The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Rightful Prince of Martyrs Thou

St. Stephen's Day: At Midnight.
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.—Rev. ii.

Latin Text: O qui tuo Dux martyrum

Source: Isaac Williams, Hymns Translated from the Parisian Breviary (London: J.G.F. & J. Rivington, 1839), pp. 58-59.

Rightful Prince of martyrs thou, 
Bind thy crown about thy brow; 
Fairer far than fading wreath, 
Weave we this thy crown of death. 

Like a gem each rugged stone, 
Sparkling with thy life-blood, shone; 
Nor could stars more brightly shine, 
Studded round thy head divine. 

From thy forehead's gushing streams 
Dart a thousand blending beams, 
Till thy glowing countenance 
Lightens to an Angel's glance. 

Thou the first-slain victim free 
To Him, the Victim slain for thee: 
Thou the first thy Lord to own, 
Sharer of His thorny crown. 

First to tread the pointed road 
Through the deep Red sea of blood :— 
Prince of martyrs, thee behind 
What a countless army wind? 

Thou of Virgin-mother born, 
In this wintry world forlorn; 
    Jesu, Lord, all praise to Thee. 
All glory be to Father, Son, 
And Holy Spirit, Three in One, 
    Unto all eternity.


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