Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Hymn for Holy Week: Song for the Cross

This is an English translation of the Latin Office Hymn for Passion Sunday.

I heard it at Spring Bank and the tone was almost as beautiful as the words:

Thirty years are now completed,
time for living well fulfilled.
He was born, He willed to suffer,
from conception sealed to death.
so the Lamb ascends the Gibbet,
climbs the altar of the Cross.

Reed and vinegar- the poison!
spittle and the tearing nails!
Lance that pierces tender body,
water flowing with the blood.
Earth and ocean, stars, creation,
washed and cleansed by this pure flood!

Steadfast cross, no peer beside you!
Noble tree that stands alone!
Never forest bore the equal,
branches, flowers and priceless seed.
Swee the wood, the nails so tender,
bearing such a precious load.

Lofty tree, bend low your branches,
soften now your rigid breast.
Melt the hardenss of your timber
that by nature's gift is yours.
Kindly stretch on boughs now tender
limbs and body of our King.

You alone deserved to carry
ransom price for fallen man,
worthy to prepare a harbour,
pilot home the shipwrecked world,
now anointed with the lifeblood
of the immolated Lamb.

Glory give to God, and honour,
always, everywhere most high,
Father and the Son together
with the glorious Paraclete!
Theirs be power and theirs be worship
now through all eternity.


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