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 John A. L. Ri­ley in The Eng­lish Hym­nal (Lon­don: Ox­ford Un­i­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 34.

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

portrait
John A. L. 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.