1 O sacred head surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn;
O royal head so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn:
death's shadows rise before you,
the glow of life decays,
yet angel hosts adore you
and tremble as they gaze!

2 Your youthfulness and vigour
are spent, your strength is gone,
and in your tortured figure
I see death drawing on:
what agony of dying,
what love, to sinners free!
My Lord, all grace supplying,
O turn your face on me!

3 Your sinless soul's oppression
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but yours the deadly pain:
I bow my head, my Saviour,
for I deserve your place;
O grant to me your favour,
and heal me by your grace.

4 What language shall I borrow
to thank you, dearest Friend,
for this your dying sorrow,
your mercy without end?
Lord, make me yours for ever:
your servant let me be;
and may I never, never
betray your love for me.

Jubilate Hymns version of Salve caput cruentatum Paulus Gerhardt (1607 - 1676) translated by James W Alexander (1804 - 1859) and Henry W Baker (1821 - 1877)
© Jubilate Hymns Ltd
7 6 7 6 D Iambic