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Inter coaevi sanguinis
Sic dira Pharaonis mali
Matres, quaerelis parcite!
'Mid the streams of infant bloodshed
He alone the sword deceived, Offspring scathless, of the Virgin,
Sword which mothers' hearts bereaved.
Thus the people's liberator,
He who Christ's own image bore, Evil Pharaoh's cruel edicts
Moses had escaped before.
Spare, O mothers, your complaining!
Why bewail your offspring lost? They the Lamb, salvation's surety,
Follow in a thronging host.
Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus was of Italian birth, from Treviso, not far from Venice. Born about the year 531, he came into France at the age of thirty-five or thirty-six. His life spanned the period at which the papacy was taking shape in the West and Mohammedanism was emerging in the East. He was a friend of Gregory of Tours, to whom he wrote many letters. He seems to have combined the characters of troubadour and courtier; and he has left many panegyrics and other fulsome writings composed in a style that has little to commend it. The greater part of his life was passed at Poictiers, where he secured ecclesiastical preferment. He was consecrated bishop of Poictiers about the year 595. He was the intimate friend of the Abbess Agnes and of Queen Radegunda; and his friendship for these women has not escaped criticism. “He was,” says Duffield,“ the first of the Christian poets to begin that worship of the Virgin Mary which rose to a passion and sank to an idolatry." He died about the year 609, leaving many hymns of rare beauty and excellence.
DE PASSIONE CHRISTI
Vexilla regis prodeunt,
Qui vulneratus insuper
Impleta sunt, quae concinit
Arbor decora et fulgida,