Stabat Mater

Nigh the cross with sorrow laden,
Weeping stood the Mother-maiden
While her Son in torment hung:
Sadly moaning, deeply wailing,
Now the cruel sword prevailing
Pierced her soul with anguish wrung.

Oh how sad that spirit lowly,
Blessèd Virgin, pure and holy,
Mother of the Only-born.
She with bitter grief and sighing,
Piteous Mother of the dying,
Saw her son with anguish torn.

Who could, tearless, thus behold her,
While such agonies enfold her,
Mother of the Crucified?
Who could see the Christ before him
See his Mother grieving o'er Him,
And unpitying turn aside?

In His torment she beheld Him,
While the cruel scourge compelled Him
Others' sins to expiate,
Saw her Son so meek and tender
Forth His stainless spirit render,
Hers, yet dying desolate.

Mother, fount of all affection,
Let me, bowed in sore dejection,
Share the grief and bear the rod.
Let my soul with ardour glowing,
Hence abound to overflowing
With the love of Christ my God.

Holy Mother, pierce my spirit
With the wounds for my demerit
Borne upon the accursed tree.
Let me, keenly sympathising,
Feel the torment agonising,
Of the cross endured for me.

Tear for tear, thy sorrow bearing,
Be it mine, thine anguish sharing,
While I live to weep with thee,
With thee at the cross abiding,

With thee mournful watch dividing,
This I ask thee tearfully.

Virgin, virgins all excelling,
May my spirit near thee dwelling,
Feel thy bitter grief its own;
Share the Saviour's dark affliction,
Passion, scourge, and crucifixion,
Pang for pang and groan for groan.

Pierce me till my spirit bleedeth,
Pierce me till my sense recedeth,
Blood-enraptured clean away.
Virgin blest when time is ended,
Be my soul by thee defended,
In the dreadful Judgment Day

Christ, when hence my soul is fleeting,
Through thy mother mercy meeting,
Be the palm of victory given.
When this mortal bond shall sever,
Take my spirit home for ever,
To the glorious rest of Heaven.

by James Brunton Stephens

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