O Cross, we hail thy bitter reign,
O come, thou well-beloved guest!
Whose sorest sufferings work not pain,
Whose heaviest burden is but rest.
For is not our Redeemer bound
In closest ties of love to those
Who faithful to the cross are found,
Through ceaseless tears, through saddest woes?
Hark, the confessors of the faith
Yet of their cross and fetters boast;
All saints have borne it to the death,
With all the martyrs' radiant host.
Pledge of our glorious home afar!
Thee, Holy Sign, with joy we take,
Sign of a peace life could not mar,
Of just content death could not shake:
The Sign how Truth, once crucified,
Now throned in majesty doth reign,
How Love is bless'd and glorified,
That here on earth was mocked and slain.
Their names are writ in words of light
Who here on earth their Lord confest;
They hear the bridegroom's cry at night,
Come to my marriage feast, ye blest!
Who then would faint, nor join to share
In Christ's reproach, in want or pain?
The bitterest death who would not dare?
Who fears a martyr's crown to gain?
Up, Brethren of the Cross! and haste
Where Christ our Head hath gone before!
We hymn His praise the while we taste
The shame and death He sometime bore.
In bonds and stripes, in falsest blame,
Our crown, our dearest wealth we see,
A dungeon were a throne, and shame
Our chiefest glory, borne for Thee.
What though the world on us may fling
Its scorn, and oft we strive with death,
The holy angels speed to bring
Our help and strength, our victor's wreath.
Up, quit the gates where sin abides,
From earth's doomed cities quickly come,
Yon eastern Star full surely guides
All pilgrims to their Father's home.
Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #65