By the cross of expiation
The Mother stood, and kept her station,
Weeping for her Son and Lord:
With the nails his hands were riven;
Through her heart the sword was driven,
Simeon’s dread, predicted sword.
Oh, that blessed one grief-laden,
Blessed Mother, blessed Maiden,
Mother of the All-holy One;
Oh, that silent, ceaseless mourning,
Oh, those dim eyes never turning
From that wondrous, suffering Son.
Who is of nature human
Tearless that could watch the Woman?
Hear unmoved that Mother’s moan?
Who, unchanged in shape and color,
Who could mark that Mother’s dolor,
Weeping with her Son alone?
For his people’s sins the All-holy
There she saw, a victim lowly,
Bleed in torments, bleed and die:
Saw the Lord’s Anointed taken;
Saw her Child in death forsaken;
Heard his last expiring cry.
Fount of love and sacred sorrow,
Mother, may my spirit borrow
Sadness from thy holy woe;
May it love – on fire within me –
Christ, my God, till great love win me
Grace to please him here below.
Those five wounds of Jesus smitten,
Mother, in my heart be written
Deeply as in thine they be;
Thou my Savior’s cross who bearest,
Thou my Son’s rebuke who sharest,
Let me share them both with thee.
In the passion of my maker
Be my sinful soul partaker;
Let me weep till death with thee;
Unto me this boon be given,
By thy side, like thee bereaven.
To stand beneath the atoning tree.
Virgin holiest, Virgin purest,
Of that anguish thou endurest
Make me bear with thee my part;
Of his passion bear the token
In a spirit bowed and broken,
Bear his death within my heart.
May his wounds both wound and heal me;
His blood enkindle, cleanse, anneal me;
Be his cross my hope and stay:
Virgin, when the mountains quiver,
From that flame which burns for ever,
Shield me on the judgment-day.
Christ, when he that shaped me calls me,
When advancing death appals me,
Through her prayer the storm make calm:
When to dust my dust returneth
Save a soul to thee that yearneth;
Grant it thou the crown and palm.
Jacapone Da Todi (1228-1306) Translated from
the Latin by A. De Vere Thérèse, M. I Sing
of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 194