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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

The Slaughter of the Innocents

From the Roman Breviary

Translated by Edward Caswall

WHEN it reached the tyrant’s ear,

Brooding, anxious, all alone,

That the King of kings was near,

Who should sit on David’s throne;

Stung with madness, straight he cries,

‘Treason threatens—draw the sword!

Rebels all around us rise!

Drown the cradles deep in blood!’

What is guilty Herod’s gain,

Though a thousand babes he slay?

Christ, amid a thousand slain,

Is in safety borne away.

Honour, glory, virtue, merit,

Be to Thee, O Virgin’s Son!

With the Father and the Spirit

While eternal ages run.