The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Captain of the Martyr Host

For the Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr, Dec. 26
See: Hymns to St Stephen

Latin Text: O qui tuo Dux martyrum

Translation and Source: Edward Caswall, Hymns and Poems (Burns, Oates & Co., 1873), pp. 190-190

O Captain of the Martyr Host!
O peerless in renown!

Not from the fading flowers of earth
Weave we for thee a crown.

The stones that smote thee, in thy blood
Made beauteous and divine,

All in a halo heavenly bright
About thy temples shine.

The scars upon thy sacred brow
Throw beams of glory round;

The splendours of thy bruised face
The very sun confound.

Oh, earliest Victim sacrificed
To thy dear Victim Lord!

Oh, earliest witness to the Faith
Of thy Incarnate God!

Thou to the heavenly Canaan first
Through the Red Sea didst go,

And to the Martyrs' countless host,
Their path of glory show.

Erewhile a servant of the poor,
Now at the Lamb's high Feast,

In blood-empurpled robe array'd,
A welcome nuptial guest!

To Jesus, born of Virgin bright,
Praise with the Father be;

Praise to the Spirit Paraclete,
Through all eternity.

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