“Martyrum Virtus”: Hymn to the Martyrs of Gorcum

Martyrum virtus validumque robur,
Palma victorum, decus et corona,
Christe Rex, tanti memorum triumphi
Vocibus adsis.

O martyr’s strength and power of men mighty,
Palm of the victor and his crown and glory,
O Christ the King, recalling such a triumph,
Be with our voices.

Hac die sacra populus fidelis
Milites Christi, fidei columnas,
Agmen invictum celebrare digno
Carmine gestit.

This holy day, we sing His faithful people,
Christ’s peaceful soldiers, our faith’s marble pillars,
Army unconquered. To give worthy honor
We’re glad and eager.

Inter hos Ordo merito Minorum
Undecim claros recolit sodales,
Qui sua primi meruere mortem
Tollere palmas.

With the deserving, from the Friars Minor
Eleven famous Recollect companions,
Who were their first men to deserve death’s guerdon,
To take the palm branch.

Fervidi sacro pietatis igne,
Pabulum praebent populo salutis;
Nec minae terrent: Deus ipse corda
Providus afflat.

Piety’s holy fire burning hotly,
They were the fuel for their people’s salvation.
Nor did threats scare them. Helping their hearts’ blazing,
God blew upon them.

Sit Patri virtus, honor et potestas;
Filio sit laus parilis per aevum;
Flamini Sancto resonent perenni
Cantica voce.

Be to the Father virtue, honor, power;
And to the Son be likewise praise for ever;
And to the Holy Breath, resound unending
In chanting voices.

Source: the 1922 Cantuale Romano-Seraphicum. Translation by me.

* “Recollect” (recolit) was the name of the specific group of Franciscans in Gorcum, according to Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

* This is poetic talk about their eagerness to serve God, not literal death in a fire. They were hung/lynched in a shed.

* “Flamen” is a poetic word for wind or breath, as well as a word for a Roman priest. So of course it got taken over as a poetic name for the Holy Spirit.

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