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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS

III

OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS

Hail, ye blossoms of the martyrs!

At the threshold of the light, Whom the cruel sword hath gathered, As the rosebuds whirlwinds blight.

Ye, of Christ the earliest victims,
Tender flock so soon cut down,
Simple, 'neath the very altar

Sport ye now with palm and crown.

What avails so great a horror;

What doth profit Herod's act? 'Mid so many trains funereal Christ is borne away intact.

Reek with gore full many cradles;
Vain his rage against the Lord;
One he seeks by many slaughters,
One escapes from every sword.

Inter coaevi sanguinis Fluenta solus integer, Ferrum, quod orbabat nurus, Partus fefellit Virginis.

Sic dira Pharaonis mali
Edicta quondam fugerat,
Christi figuram praeferens,
Moses, receptor civium.

Matres, quaerelis parcite!
Quid rapta fletis pignora?
Agnum, salutis obsidem,
Denso sequuntur agmine.

'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.

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