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Rex Gloriose Martyrum


The office hymn which was formerly sung at Lauds in the common office for several martyrs. The author is unknown, but Walpole thinks that this hymn, the deus, tuorum militum, and the jesu, redemptor omnium are all by the same person because they are similar in language. They are written in iambic dimeter, yet with a strong accentual rhythm; this feature, and particularly the sophisticated use of rhyme, point to Celtic origin. The verses of each strophe are in rhyming couplets, the rhyme sometimes of two syllables, yet often inexact, a style characteristic of the 6th century. In the 1632 revision of the Roman breviary, this hymn suffered several changes (six words). The hymn invokes Christ, the glorious king of martyrs, reward of confessors, who guides to eternal life those who despise the things of earth. He is asked to lend a kindly ear to our petitions as a reward for the celebration of the martyrs' triumph.

Bibliography: Analecta hymnica 51:128129. a. s. walpole, ed., Early Latin Hymns (Cambridge, Eng. 1922) 384385. j. mearns, Early Latin Hymnaries (Cambridge, Eng. 1913) 75. f. j.e. raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford 1953) 131140. j. szÖvÉrffy, Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung (Berlin 196465) 1:214; 2:453. j. connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (Westminster MD 1957) 148149.

[a. j. kinnirey]

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