O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Today is the Lord’s Day and also traditionally marks Holy Week, stretching from the Sunday before Christ’s death (Palm Sunday) to the day of Easter (Resurrection Sunday). This week we will be looking at songs that would fit in well with this time in the church calendar! The other of today’s hymn has been debated, but it is usually attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153). The Latin text consisted of seven parts, identifying a different part of the body (feet, knees, hands, sides, breast, heart and head), intended to be sung each day of Holy Week1.

O sacred Head now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns,
Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish,
Which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Saviour!
‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favour,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, Dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never,
Never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me;
My Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
With words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
To heavenly joys above.

My Saviour, be Thou near me
When death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me,
Forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish,
Oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish
By virtue of Thine own


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