O Sacred Head Sore Wounded : Lyrics
1. O sacred head, sore wounded,
Defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head, surrounded
With mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrow mars Thy grandeur?
Can death Thy bloom deflow’r?
O countenance whose splendour
The hosts of heav’en adore!
2. Thy beauty, long desired,
Hath vanished from our sight;
Thy pow’r is all expired,
And quenched the light of light.
Ah me! for whom Thou diest,
Hide not so far Thy grace:
Show me, O Love most highest,
The brightness of Thy face.
3. In Thy most bitter passion
My heart to share doth cry,
With Thee for my salvation
Upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
To stand Thy cross beneath,
To mourn Thee, well-beloved,
Yet thank Thee for Thy death.
4. What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me Thine for ever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for Thee.
5. My days are few, O fail not,
With Thine immortal pow’r,
To hold me that I quail not
In death’s most fearful hour;
That I may fight befriended,
And see in my last strife
To me Thine arms extended
Upon the cross of life.
- Lyricist, original German, Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), translated by Robert Seymour Bridges (1844-1930). Public Domain.
- Meter: 76 76 D.
O Sacred Head Sore Wounded : Recording
- Tune: Passion Chorale, (Herzlich Tut Mich Verlangen) composed by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) and harmonised by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Public Domain.
- Performance ℗ 2022 Richard Irwin Music®. All rights reserved. ISRC UKTU21900501.
- Cover Image by James Chan, Pixabay.com
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O Sacred Head Sore Wounded : Score
Available from MobileHymns.org
Lectionary and Other Uses
The following are suggestions for Sundays and feast days when this hymn might be sung. Please feel free to contact us, if you have other suggestions.
- Holy Week Wednesday
- Good Friday
- Year A Palm Sunday – Liturgy of The Palms and Liturgy of The Passion
- Year B Palm Sunday – Liturgy of The Palms and Liturgy of The Passion
- Year C Palm Sunday – Liturgy of The Palms and Liturgy of The Passion
History of the Passion Chorale
The original German name for the Passion Chorale is Herzlich Tut Mich Verlangen (also known as Ach Herr or Mich Armen Sunder) is a glorious melody by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612), whose beauty has done much to frame Paul Gerhardt‘s devotional text, O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden for choirs and congregations. The two were first published together in 1613.
The continued popularity of the music can be put firmly at the door of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) who has both provided the harmony for the version recorded here and forever associated the piece with The St Matthew Passion (Matthäus-Passion BWV 244) where the piece is interwoven throughout, using subtly different harmonies at each reoccurance.
Hans Hassler came from a family of famous musicians. He received his early education from his father in Nuremberg, then studied in Venice with Andrea Gabrieli and was a friend of Giovanni Gabrieli. In Venice he learned the Gabrielis’ famous polychoral style, which he brought back with him to Germany.
Hassler served as organist and composer for Octavian Fugger, the prince and art patron of Augsburg (1585-1601), director of town music and organist in the Frauenkirche in Nuremberg (1601-1608), and as court musician for the Elector of Saxony in Dresden (1608-1612).
As Lutheran, Hassler composed for both the Roman Catholic liturgy and for Lutheran churches. Among his many works are two volumes of motets (1591, 1601), a famous collection of court songs, Lustgarten neuer Deutscher Gesang (1601), chorale motets, Psalmen und christliche Gesänge (1607), and a volume of simpler hymn settings, Kirchengesänge, Psalmen und geistliche Lieder (1608).