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Martyr Dei Venantius

Venantius, hail!

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Martyr Dei Venantius,
    Lux et decus Camertium,
    Tortore victo et judice,
    Lætus triumphum concinit.
  2. Annis puer, post vincula,
    Post carceres, post verbera,
    Longa fame frementibus
    Cibus datur leonibus.
  3. Sed ejus innocentæ
    Parcit leonum immanitas,
    Pedesque lambent Martyris,
    Iræ famisque immemores.
  4. Verso deorsum vertice
    Haurire fumum cogitur:
    Costas atrimque et viscera
    Succensa lampas ustulat.
  5. Sit laus Patri, sit Filio,
    Tibique sancta Spiritus:
    Da per preces Venantii
    Beata nobis gaudia.
  1. Venantius, hail! God’s Martyr bright,
    Thy country’s honor and her light;
    Who didst with joy thy triumph sing,
    Thy judge and tortures conquering.
  2. A child in years, he heeds no pain,
    Nor dungeon damp, nor galling chain;
    The tender youth for food is thrown
    To lions, mad with hunger grown.
  3. O wondrous sight! the beasts of prey
    Their food reject, and turn away;
    Then tamely lick the Martyr’s feet,
    A tribute to his virtue meet.
  4. Then downwards hung, his mouth exposed
    To clouds of smoke beneath disposed,
    Whilst with slow torches, burning clear,
    His naked breasts and sides they sear.
  5. Praise to the Father, and the Son,
    And Holy Spirit, Three in One;
    Oh! grant that through this Martyr’s prayer,
    Your blissful joy we all may share.
Author: Unknown, 17th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by Father Potter. There are four translations. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Vespers. St. Venantius was martyred at the age of fifteen, in the year 250.
  1. “Venantius, the Martyr of God, the light and glory of the people of Camarino, having triumphed over torturer and judge, now joyfully blends his voice with the song of triumph.” Camertium, gen. pl. Camertes, ium, the inhabitants of Camerino, which was known in ancient times as Camers. Abp. Bagshawe renders this line: “Who Latium light and glory brings.” As a matter of fact Camerino is not in Latium but in Umbria some ninety miles northeast of Rome. Father Caswall’s translation in his Lyra Catholica is scarcely less happy: “Camertium’s light, her joy and prize.”
  2. “A child in years, after chains and imprisonment and stripes, he is given as food to lions raging from long hunger.”
  3. “But the ferocity of the lions spares his innocence, and unmindful of their rage and hunger they lick the Martyr’s feet.”
  4. “With head hung downward he is forced to inhale smoke, and a flaming torch scorches his ribs and his flesh on either side.” Viscera is used to signify the flesh lying under the skin.
  5. “Be praise to the Father, and the Son, and to Thee, Holy Spirit: grant us through the prayers of Venantius the blessed joys of heaven.”