A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children. Jeremiah 31:15
Words: From Cassander’s Hymni Ecclesiastici (Cologne, Germany: 1556) (Hymnum canentes martyrum), where it is attributed to the Venerable Bede (673–735). John M. Neale translated it from Latin to English in Mediaeval Hymns, 1851. Hymns Ancient and Modern altered Neale’s translation to
A hymn for martyrs sweetly sing.
The hymn for conquering martyrs raise,
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 conquering martyrs raise.
A voice from Ramah was there sent,
A voice of weeping and lament,
When Rachel mourned the children’s care
Whom for the tyrant’s sword she bare.
Triumphal is their glory now,
Whom earthly torments could not bow,
What time, both far and near that went,
A voice from Ramah there was sent.
Fear not, O little flock and blest,
The lion that your life opprest!
To heavenly pastures ever new
The heavenly Shepherd leadeth you;
Who, dwelling now on Zion’s hill,
The Lamb’s dear footsteps follow still;
By tyrant there no more distressed,
Fear not, O little flock and blest.
And every tear is wiped away
By your dear Father’s hands for ay;
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.
O city blest o’er all the earth,
Who gloriest in the Savior’s birth,
Who are His earliest martyrs dear,
By kindred and by triumph here;
None from henceforth may call thee small,
Of rival towns thou passest all:
In whom our Monarch had His birth,
O city blest o’er all the earth!