Requested by Laura, this hymn–first in Latin, then in English–celebrates Perpetua, a Christian saint and martyr, publicly slaughtered by the Roman government for her faithfulness to Jesus Christ. The date of her martyrdom is usually given as 203 A.D., or sometime just a few years later.
Perpetua, a young married woman of a noble Roman family, lived in Carthage. She and her slave, Felicity, along with a few others, were accused, tried, and put savagely to death in the arena. At any time, they could have saved themselves by abandoning Christ. They chose not to.
The whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19), and Jesus did not hide the truth from us, that if we belong to Him, the world will hate us.
But Christ has overcome the world (John 16:13); and the blood of the martyrs shall be avenged by God Himself (Revelation 6:9-11).