Salvete flores martyrum

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Salvete flores martyrum is the office hymn for Lauds on the Feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28). Its stanzas are drawn from Prudentius' Epiphany hymn Cathemerinon and were first assembled in the 1568 Breviary of Pope Pius V. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) claims there are some 25 English versions extant.

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Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Salvete flores Martyrum
Quo lucis ipso in limine
Christi in secutur sustulit
Ceu turbo nascentes rosas.

Vos prima Christi victima
Grex immolatorum tener
Aram ante ipsam simplices
Palma et coronatis luditis.

Jesu tibi sit Gloria
Qui natus es de Virgine
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula
 

English.png English translation

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.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet
To Father and to Paraclete.
tr. Athelstan Riley
 

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