Scripture Verse

A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel, weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were no more. Jeremiah 31:15


Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents
Gustave Doré

Words: Tho­mas B. Mur­ray, Lays of Christ­mas (Lon­don: Fran­cis & John Riv­ing­ton, 1847), num­ber 5.

Music: Bres­lau As Hym­no­dus Sa­cer (Leip­zig, Ger­ma­ny: 1625) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Mur­ray (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?


The songs of praise were scarcely done,
Which magnified the Father’s love
In sending forth His only Son,
A perfect offering from above;

When He, the Lamb, unblemished, bright,
Snatched from the tyrant’s hands in time,
Amidst the silence of the night,
Sought refuge in a foreign clime.

For murder’s threatening shadow fell
On Bethl’hem, and the coasts around;
And scenes too sad for tongue to tell,
Were acted on that holy ground.

A voice was heard of those that mourn,
A piteous plaint, a clamor wild;
The infant from its mother torn,
The mother wailing for her child.

’Twas heard in Ramah long before,
When Rachel, bending o’er the dead,
Bemoaned her children now no more,
Refusing to be comforted.

O dark and lamentable day,
That saw fulfilled the prophet’s word,
The lamb-like victims dragged away,
And slaughtered by the tyrant’s sword.

Yet they were blest; that shining band
First in the martyrs’ army stood;
Fair spring flowers, nipped by Herod’s hand,
Torn from the stem, baptized in blood.

Then, mothers, cease your mourning tones;
Resign in faith what God hath giv’n;
And count your parted little ones
His jewels treasured up in Heav’n.