O Sacred Head Sore Wounded

O sacred head, sore wounded,
defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head surrounded
with mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrow mars thy grandeur?
Can death thy bloom deflower?
O countenance whose splendor
the hosts of heaven adore!

Thy beauty, long-desirèd,
hath vanished from our sight;
thy power is all expirèd,
and quenched the light of light.
Ah me! for whom thou diest,
hide not so far thy grace:
show me, O Love most highest,
the brightness of thy face.

I pray thee, Jesus, own me,
me, Shepherd good, for thine;
who to thy fold hast won me,
and fed with truth divine.
Me guilty, me refuse not,
incline thy face to me,
this comfort that I lose not,
on earth to comfort thee.

In thy most bitter passion
my heart to share doth cry,
with thee for my salvation
upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
to stand thy cross beneath,
to mourn thee, well-beloved,
yet thank thee for thy death.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine for ever!
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
outlive my love for thee.

My days are few, O fail not,
with thine immortal power,
to hold me that I quail not
in death’s most fearful hour;
that I may fight befriended,
and see in my last strife
to me thine arms extended
upon the cross of life.

Words: attr. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153; tr. Latin to German, Paul Gerhardt, 1656; tr. to English Robert S. Bridges (1844-1930).; st. 5, tr. James W. Alexander (1804-1859).
Music: “Herzlich tut mich verlangen” Hans Leo Hassler, 1601.

*Authorship has more recently been attributed to Arnulph of Leuven.

The Latin and German texts for this hymn are found here.


About Noah

musings of a young Catholic aspiring to be faithful to his Lord and God Jesus Christ through His Holy Catholic Church
This entry was posted in 3. The Crowing of Our Lord Jesus Christ with Thorns, English Translation of Non-English Hymn, Good Friday, Holy Week, Hymns By The Greats, Jesus Christ Our Lord, Lent, Non-English Hymns, Robert S. Bridges, Saints of the Church (Canonized or Beatified), Salve Mundi Salutare, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, The Church Year, The Holy Rosary, The Passion, The Sorrowful Mysteries, The Wounds of Christ. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to O Sacred Head Sore Wounded

  1. Pingback: Salve Caput Cruentatum | Saint Augustine's Lyre

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