The Waldensian Christians, dedicated to the Reformed Faith, were massacred by the soldiers of the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emanuel II, in 1655. In response, John Milton composed this beautiful poem. It is not unlike an imprecatory Psalm. You will notice that Milton reflects a notion, popular at the time in England, that the Waldensians were original Christians, having existed outside of the Roman Papal communion for centuries.
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scatter’d on the Alpine mountains cold,
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshiped stocks and stones;
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that roll’d
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow
O’er all th’ Italian fields where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred-fold, who having learnt thy way
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
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