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A HYMN OF ST. AGATHA
Now behold, the glad day of Saint Agatha comes, Blessed martyr and virgin renowned,
In the which Christ hath taken her unto Himself, And with diadem twofold hath crowned.
Though distinguished by birth, and of beauteous form,
Yet in faith and in works she excelled; Disregarding all earthly possessions and wealth, In her heart God's commandments she held.
And this maiden far braver than barbarous men, To their scourges her body laid bare;
With what mighty endurance her soul was endowed Let her tortured breast plainly declare.
To this lamb for whose comfort a dungeon was given, Comes the shepherd, Saint Peter, to bless; Thence, rejoicing and evermore ardent, she ran, Through all tortures exultant to press.
Ethnica turba rogum fugiens
His Venerem magis ipsa premat.
Iam renitens quasi sponsa polo
Gloria cum Patre sit Genito,
Lo, the throng of barbarians fleeing from death, Her assistance deservedly claim;
But in those whom the name of the faithful adorns, May she quench passion's deadlier flame.
As a bride, with thy Lord interceding in heaven,
To the Son, with the Father and Spirit, henceforth Be all glory and honour and laud:
We beseech Thee to keep her still mindful of us, O Thou one and omnipotent God.
A native of Trèves in Gaul, the great bishop of Milan, champion of orthodoxy against the Arians, teacher of Augustine, master of the art of eloquence, Ambrose is one of the most conspicuous figures in ecclesiastical history. He was born about 340 A.D., consecrated bishop in 374, and died in 397. His character has not escaped the breath of calumny, but all efforts at detraction have failed to remove him from the high estimation history has accorded to him. His reluctance to accept the office of bishop seems to have been sincere, and his integrity in the administration of the office as marked as the simplicity of his life. He was of noble birth and high education. The undoubted author of many hymns, there are many more ascribed to him which he probably did not compose. Duffield says: "The bishop met three great enemies during his career. First appeared Idolatry, championed by Symmachus; then followed Heresy, championed by Justina; and now came Despotism, behind which stood the beloved Theodosius." His bones were deposited in the church of San Ambrogio, the cathedral which stands on the old site in the city of Milan, where a church was built in 387.