Athleta Christi nobilis
Noble champion of the Lord
Author: Unknown, 17th cent.
Meter: Iambic dimeter.
Translation by Father Caswall. There are three translations.
Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on the Feast of
- Athleta Christi nobilis
Idola damnat Gentium,
Deique amore saucius
Vitæ pericla despicit.
- Loris revinctus asperis,
E rupe præceps volvitur:
Spineta vultum lancinant:
Per saxa corpus scinditur.
- Dum membra raptant Martyris,
Languent siti satellites:
Signo crucis Venantius
E rupe fontes elicit.
- Bellator o fortissime,
Qui perfidis tortoribus
E caute præbes poculum,
Nos rore gratiæ irriga.
- Sit laus Patri, sit Filio,
Tibique sancte Spiritus:
Da per preces Venantii
Beata nobis gaudia.
- Noble champion of the Lord!
Armed against idolatry!
In thy fervent zeal for God
Death had naught of fear for thee.
- Bound with thongs, thy youthful form
Down the rugged steep they tear,
Jagged rock and rending thorn
All thy tender flesh lay bare.
- Spent with toil, the savage crew,
Fainting, sinks with deadly thirst;
Thou the Cross dost sign; and lo!
From the rock the waters burst.
- Saintly warrior-prince! who thus
Thy tormentors couldst forgive;
Pour the dew of grace on us,
Bid our fainting spirits live.
- To Thee, O Father, with the Son
And Holy Spirit, glory be;
Oh, grant us through Thy Martyr’s prayer
The joys of immortality.
- “The noble athlete of Christ abominates the idols of
the pagans, and smitten with the love of God he despises
the dangers that threaten his life.”
- “Bound with rough thongs he is precipitated headlong
from a cliff; thorns lacerate his countenance, and his
body is torn by the sharp rocks.”
- “While the executioner’s attendants drag along the
limbs of the Martyr, they become faint with thirst; by the
sign of the Cross Venantius causes water to issue forth
from a rock.”
- “O thou most brave warrior who dost offer to thy
torturers a drink brought forth from a rock, refresh us
with the dew of grace.”
Copyright Benziger Brothers, 1922. Online Edition Copyright David M. Cheney, 2019.