Scripture Verse

He sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in that region who were two years old or under. Matthew 2:16

Introduction

illustration
Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents
Gustave Doré
1832–1883

Words: Au­re­li­us Pru­den­ti­us (348–413) (Sal­ve­te flor­es mar­tyr­um). Trans­lated from La­tin to Eng­lish by J. Ath­el­stan Ri­ley in The Eng­lish Hym­nal (Lon­don: Ox­ford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 34.

Music: Sa­ratt Geof­frey C. E. Ry­ley, 1904 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
J. Athelstan Riley
1858–1945

Lyrics

All hail, ye lit­tle mar­tyr flow­ers,
Sweet rose­buds cut in dawn­ing hours!
When Her­od sought the Christ to find
Ye fell as bloom be­fore the wind.

First vic­tims of the mar­tyr bands,
With crowns and palms in ten­der hands,
Around the ve­ry al­tar, gay
And in­no­cent, ye seem to play.

What pro­fit­ed this great of­fense?
What use was Hero­d’s vio­lence?
A babe sur­vives that dread­ful day,
And Christ is safe­ly borne away.

All hon­or, laud, and glo­ry be,
O Je­sus, vir­gin born, to Thee;
All glo­ry, as is ev­er meet
To Fa­ther and to Pa­ra­clete.