Scripture Verse

In the name of our God we will set up our banners. Psalm 20:5


John M. Neale (1818–1866)


Words: Ve­nan­ti­us For­tu­na­tus, 569 (Vex­il­la Re­gis pro­deunt). Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, Med­i­æ­val Hymns and Se­quenc­es, 1851.

Music: Ham­burg Lo­well Ma­son, 1824. First pub­lished in The Bos­ton Han­del and Hay­dn So­cie­ty Col­lect­ion of Church Mu­sic, third edi­tion, 1825 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

Lowell Mason (1792–1872)


Legend says that on No­vem­ber 19, 568, St. Ra­de­gund pre­sent­ed to the town of Poi­ti­ers a frag­ment be­lieved to be the true Cross. For­tu­na­tus was the one cho­sen to receive the re­lic on its ar­ri­val at Poi­ti­ers.

When the bear­ers of the ho­ly frag­ment were two miles distant from the town, For­tu­na­tus, with a great ga­ther­ing of be­liev­ers and en­thu­si­asts, some car­ry­ing ban­ners, cross­es and oth­er sac­red em­blems, went forth to meet them. As the marched, they sang this hymn, which For­tu­na­tus had writ­ten.


The roy­al ban­ners for­ward go,
The cross shines forth in mys­tic glow;
Where He in flesh, our flesh who made,
Our sen­tence bore, our ran­som paid.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s tor­rent rush­ing from His side,
To wash us in that pre­cious flood,
Where ming­led wa­ter flowed, and blood.

Fulfilled is all that Da­vid told
In true pro­phet­ic song of old,
Amidst the na­tions, God, saith he,
Hath reigned and tri­umphed from the tree.

O tree of beau­ty, tree of light!
O tree with roy­al purple dight!
Elect on whose tri­um­phal breast
Those ho­ly limbs should find their rest.

Blest tree, whose chos­en branch­es bore
The wealth that did the world re­store,
The price of hu­man­kind to pay,
And spoil the spoil­er of his prey.

Upon its arms, like bal­ance true,
He weighed the price for sin­ners due,
The price which none but He could pay,
And spoiled the spoil­er of his prey.

O cross, our one re­li­ance, hail!
Still may thy pow­er with us av­ail
To give new vir­tue to the saint,
And par­don to the pe­ni­tent.

To Thee, eter­nal Three in One,
Let hom­age meet by all be done:
As by the cross Thou dost re­store,
So rule and guide us ev­er­more.