|By help of God I fain would tell|
A new and wondrous story,
And sing a marvel that befell
To his great praise and glory.
At Brussels in the Netherlands
He hath his banner lifted,
To show his wonders by the hands
Of two youths, highly gifted
With rich and heavenly graces.
2. One of these youths was called John,
And Henry was the other;
Rich in the grace of God was one,
A Christian true his brother.
For God's dear Word they shed their blood,
And from the world departed
Like bold and pious sons of God;
Faithful and lion-hearted,
They won the crown of martyrs.
3. The old Arch-fiend did them immure,
To terrify them seeking;
They bade them God's dear Word abjure,
And fain would stop their speaking.
From Louvain many Sophists came,
Deep versed in human learning,
God's Spirit foiled them at their game
Their pride to folly turning.
They could not but be losers.
4. They spake them fair, they spake them foul,
Their sharp devices trying.
Like rocks stood firm each brave young soul
The Sophists' art defying.
The enemy waxed fierce in hate,
And for their life-blood thirsted;
He fumed and chafed that one so great
Should by two babes be worsted,
And straightway sought to burn them.
5. Their monkish garb from them they take,
And gown of ordination;
The youths a cheerful Amen spake,
And showed no hesitation.
They thanked their God that by his aid
They now had been denuded
Of Satan's mock and masquerade,
Whereby he had deluded
The world with false pretences.
6. Thus by the power of grace they were
True priests of God's own making,
Who offered up themselves e'en there,
Christ's holy orders taking;
Dead to the world, they cast aside
Hypocrisy's sour leaven,
That penitent and justified
They might go clean to heaven,
And leave all monkish follies.
|7. They then were told that they must read|
A note which was dictated;
They straightway wrote their fate and creed,
And not one jot abated.
Now mark their heresy! "We must
In God be firm believers;
In mortal men not put our trust,
For they are all deceivers;"
For this they must be burned!
8. Two fires were lit; the youths were brought,
But all were seized with wonder
To see them set the flames at naught,
And stood as struck with thunder.
With joy they came in sight of all,
And sang aloud God's praises;
The Sophists' courage waxed small
Before such wondrous traces
Of God's almighty finger.
9. The scandal they repent, and would
Right gladly gloss it over;
They dare not boast their deed of blood,
But seek the stain to cover.
They feel the shame within their breast,
And charge therewith each other;
But now the Spirit cannot rest,
For Abel 'gainst his brother
Doth cry aloud for vengeance.
10. Their ashes will not rest; would-wide
They fly through every nation.
No cave nor grave, no turn nor tide,
Can hide th'abomination.
The voices which with cruel hands
They put to silence living,
Are heard, though dead, throughout all lands
Their testimony giving,
And loud hosannas singing.
11. From lies to lies they still proceed,
And feign forthwith a story
To color o'er the murderous deed;
Their conscience pricks them sorely.
These saints of God e'en after death
They slandered, and asserted
The youths had with their latest breath
Confessed and been converted,
Their heresy renouncing.
12. Then let them still go on and lie,
They cannot win a blessing;
And let us thank God heartily,
His Word again possessing.
Summer is even at our door,
The winter now has vanished,
The tender flowerets spring once more,
And he, who winter banished,
Will send a happy summer.