Tuesday, December 28, 2004

December 28 - The Holy Innocents

Audit tyrannus anxius
adesse regum principem,
qui nomen Israel regat
teneatque David regiam.

The uneasy tyrant is told
of the coming of the King of Kings
to rule over the people of Israel
and to ascend the throne of David.

Exclamat amens nuntio:
"Successor instat, pellimur.
Satelles, i, ferrum rape,
Perfunde cunas sanguine!"

Beside himself at the news, he cries out:
"He is here to take my place. I am dethroned.
Guards, go, sword in hand,
and drench the cradles in blood."

Quo proficit tantum nefas?
Quid crimen Herodem iuvat?
Unus tot inter funera
Impune Christus tollitur.

Of what avail is so great an outrage?
How does this monstrous wickedness benefit Herod?
Though so many were put to death,
yet one, Christ, escapes unharmed.

Salvete, flores martyrum,
Quos lucis ipso in limine
Christi insecutor sustulit,
Ceu turbo nascentes rosas.

Hail, martyr flowers!
On the very threshold of your life
Christ's persecutor destroyed you,
as a whirlwind does the budding roses.

Vos prima Christi victima,
Grex immolatorum tener,
Aram sub ipsam simplices
Palma et coronis luditis.

You, Christ's first fruits,
a flock of tender sacrificial victims,
now play with your palms and crowns
right up by the very altar.

Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna Saecula. Amen.

O Jesus, born of the Virgin,
to you be glory
with the Father and loving Spirit,
unto everlasting ages. Amen.

[This is the proper hymn at Lauds for the feast of the Holy Innocents. The translation is that of Fr Joseph Connelly.]