O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded

1) Version by Llandaff Cathedral Choir:

2) Version by Gymel (italicized stanza not sung in this version):

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.

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: Robert Bridges, 1899
Music: Herzlich tut mich verlangen (Passion Chorale), Hans Leo Haßler (1564-1612); adapted and harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

–1) From the album Complete New English Hymnal Vol. 19, sung by the Llandaff Cathedral Choir.

–2) From the album Ren & Now by Gymel.

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