O Sacred Head – hymn

O Sacred Head

This solemn hymn really speaks for itself. There is much to ponder in the lyrics of this hymn, written hundreds of years ago. The lyrics are attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century. There are also attributions to Paul Gerhardt in 1656 for the German words and to James W. Alexander in 1830 for the English words. That is quite a history and tells you that there is more to this hymn than meets the eye the first time you look at it or listen.

The music is attributed to Hans L. Hassler (1601) and then arranged by J.S. Bach (1729).

The last line is very touching and may it be true for all those who love Christ.

Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love to Thee.


At Home.

O Sacred Head

lyrics: attr. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century);tr. (German) Paul Gerhardt (1656); tr. (English) James W. Alexander (1830)
music: Hans L. Hasslet (1601); arr. J. S. Bach (1729)

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

2 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.



2 thoughts on “O Sacred Head – hymn

  1. Annette V May 22, 2017 at 11:21 pm Reply

    oh.. I love this old hymn Lori. Thanks for sharing it.. what a great song to fall asleep by. 🙂

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