Ah wounded Head that bearest

Representative Text

Ah wounded Head that bearest
Such bitter shame and scorn,
That now so meekly wearest
The mocking crown of thorn!
Erst reigning in the highest
In light and majesty,
Dishonour'd here Thou diest,
Yet here I worship Thee.

Thou noble Face, whose anger
Shall make a world to quail,
That glance is quench'd in languor
To which the sun were pale;
How hath its brightness vanish'd!
Those gracious eyes how dim!
What foe their light hath banish'd,
Who dared to scoff at Him?

All lovely hues have faded
That glow'd with warmth and life
As He endures unaided
The last and mortal strife;
The Mighty One of valour
Must yield Him as a prey,
Death triumphs in his pallour
O'er all His strength to-day.

Ah Lord, this cruel burden
Of right belongs to me;
Of my misdeeds the guerdon
Hath all been laid on Thee;
I cast me down before Thee,
Wrath were my rightful lot,
Yet hear me, I implore Thee,
Redeemer, spurn me not!

My Guardian, deign to own me,
My Shepherd, I am Thine;
What goodness hast Thou shewn me,
O Fount of Love Divine!
How oft Thy lips have fed me
On earth with angels' food!
How oft Thy Spirit led me
To stores of heavenly good!

Ah would that I were bidden
To share Thy cross and woes!
There all true joy lies hidden,
Thence all true comfort flows.
Ah well for me, if lying
Here at Thy feet, my Life,
I too with Thee were dying,
And thus might end my strife!

My soul doth melt within me,
O Jesus, dearest Friend,
That Thou shiouldst bear to win me
Such woes, for such an end!
Ah make me cling the firmer
To One so true to me,
And sink without a murmur
To sleep at last in Thee.

Yes, when I hence betake me,
Lord, do not Thou depart;
Oh I never more forsake me
When death is at my heart,
And faith and hope are sinking,
O'erwhelm'd with dread dismay;
Thou barest all unshrinking,--
Oh chase my fears away!

Appear then, my Defender,
My Comfort, ere I die!
This life I can surrender
If but I see Thee nigh;
My dim eyes shall behold Thee,
Upon Thy cross thall dwell,
My heart by faith enfold Thee
Who dieth thus, dies well!

Source: Chorale Book for England, The #51

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Paul Gerhardt (b. Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany, 1607; d. Lubben, Germany, 1676), famous author of Lutheran evangelical hymns, studied theology and hymnody at the University of Wittenberg and then was a tutor in Berlin, where he became friends with Johann Crüger. He served the Lutheran parish of Mittenwalde near Berlin (1651-1657) and the great St. Nicholas' Church in Berlin (1657-1666). Friederich William, the Calvinist elector, had issued an edict that forbade the various Protestant groups to fight each other. Although Gerhardt did not want strife between the churches, he refused to comply with the edict because he thought it opposed the Lutheran "Formula of Concord," which con­demned some Calvinist doctrines. Consequently, he was r… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Ah wounded Head that bearest
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Language: English


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Chorale Book for England, The #51

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