The seven great hymns of the mediaeval church/Stabat Mater and Mater Speciosa/Mater Speciosa, Neale




FULL of beauty stood the mother
By the manger, blest o'er other,
Where her little one she lays:
For her inmost soul's elation,
In its fervid jubilation,
Thrills with ecstasy of praise.


Oh! what glad, what rapturous feeling
Filled that blessed mother, kneeling
By the Sole-Begotten One!
How, her heart with laughter bounding,
She beheld the work astounding,
Saw His birth, the glorious Son.


Who is he, that fight who beareth,
Nor Christ's mother's solace shareth
In her bosom as He lay:
Who is he that would not render
Tend'rest love for love so tender,
Love, with that dear babe at play?


For the trespafs of her nation
She with oxen saw His station
Subjected to cold and woe;
Saw her sweetest offspring's wailing,
Wife men Him with worship hailing,
In the stable, mean and low.


Jesus lying in the manger,
Heavenly armies fang the stranger,
In the great joy-bearing part;
Stood the old man with the maiden,
No words speaking, only laden
With this wonder in their heart.


Mother, fount of love still flowing,
Let me, with thy rapture glowing,
Learn to sympathize with thee:
Let me raise my heart's devotion
Up to Christ with pure emotion,
That accepted I may be.


Mother, let me win this blessing,
Let His forrow's deep impressing
In my heart engraved remain:
Since thy Son, from heaven descending,
Deigned to bear the manger's tending,
Oh! divide with me His pain.


Keep my heart its gladness bringing,
To my Jesus ever clinging
Long as this my life shall last;
Love like that thine own love, give it,
On my little child to rivet,
Till this exile shall be past.
Let me share thine own affliction;
Let me suffer no rejection
Of my purpose fixed and fast.


Virgin, peerless of condition,
Be not wroth with my petition,
Let me clasp thy little Son;
Let me bear that child so glorious,
Him, whose birth, o'er death victorious,
Willed that life for man was won.


Let me, satiate with my pleasure,
Feel the rapture of thy treasure
Leaping for that joy intense:
That, inflamed by such communion,
Through the marvel of that union
I may thrill in every sense.


All that love this stable truly,
And the shepherds watching duly,
Tarry there the livelong night:
Pray that, by thy Son's dear merit,
His elected may inherit
Their own country's endless light.