The seven great hymns of the mediaeval church/Stabat Mater and Mater Speciosa/Stabat Mater, Dix
NEAR the Cross the Saviour bearing
Stood the mother lone, despairing,
Bitter tears down falling fast.
Wearied was her heart with grieving,
Worn her breast with sorrow heaving,
Through her soul the sword had passed.
Ah! how sad and broken-hearted
Was that blessed mother, parted
From the God-begotten One!
How her loving heart did languish
When me saw the mortal anguish
Which o'erwhelmed her peerless Son.
Who could witness without weeping
Such a flood of sorrow sweeping
O'er the stricken mother's breast?
Who contemplate without being
Moved to kindred grief by feeing
Son and mother thus oppressed?
For our fins me saw Him bending
And the cruel lash descending
On His body stripped and bare;
Saw her own dear Jesus dying,
Heard His spirit's last out-crying
Sharp with anguish and despair.
Gentle Mother, love's pure fountain!
Cast, oh! cast on me the mountain
Of thy grief that I may weep;
Let my heart with ardor burning,
Christ's unbounded love returning,
His rich favor win and keep.
Holy Mother, be thy study
Christ's dear image scarred and bloody
To enshrine within my heart!
Martyred Son! whose grace has set me
Free from endless death, oh! let me
Of Thy sufferings bear a part.
Mother, let our tears commingle,
Be the crucifix my single
Sign of sorrow while I live:
Let me by the Cross stand near thee,
There to fee thee, there to hear thee,
For each sigh a sigh to give.
Purest of the Virgins! turn not
Thy displeasure on me—spurn not
My desire to weep with thee.
Let me live Christ's passion sharing,
All His wounds and sorrows bearing
In my tearful memory.
Be, ye wounds, my tribulation!
Be, thou Crofs, my infpiration!
Mark, O blood, my Heaven-ward way.
Thus to fervor rapt, O tender
Virgin, be thou my defender
In the dreadful Judgment Day.
With the Cross my faith I'll cherish;
By Christ's death suftained I'll perish,
Through His grace again to rife.
Come then, Death, this body sealing,
To my ransomed foul revealing
Glorious days in Paradise.