Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXIV. Bitter Sorrow
Stabat Mater
By Jacopone da Todi (c. 1230–1306)
 
Translated by Abraham Coles

STOOD the afflicted mother weeping,
Near the cross her station keeping,
    Whereon hung her Son and Lord;
Through whose spirit sympathizing,
Sorrowing and agonizing,        5
    Also passed the cruel sword.
 
Oh! how mournful and distressèd
Was that favoured and most blessèd
    Mother of the only Son!
Trembling, grieving, bosom heaving,        10
While perceiving, scarce believing,
    Pains of that Illustrious One.
 
Who the man, who, called a brother,
Would not weep, saw he Christ’s mother
    In such deep distress and wild?        15
Who could not sad tribute render
Witnessing that mother tender
    Agonizing with her Child?
 
For His people’s sins atoning,
Him she saw in torments groaning,        20
    Given to the scourger’s rod;
Saw her darling offspring dying,
Desolate, forsaken, crying,
    Yield His spirit up to God.
 
Make me feel thy sorrow’s power,        25
That with thee I tears may shower,
    Tender mother, fount of love!
Make my heart with love unceasing
Burn towards Christ the Lord, that pleasing
    I may be to him above.        30
 
Holy Mother, this be granted,
That the slain One’s wounds be planted
    Firmly in my heart to bide.
Of Him wounded, all astounded—
Depths unbounded for me sounded—        35
    All the pangs with me divide.
 
Make me weep with thee in union:
With the Crucified, communion
    In His grief and suffering give:
Near the Cross, with tears unfailing,        40
I would join thee in thy wailing
    Here as long as I shall live.
 
Maid of maidens, all excelling!
Be not bitter, me repelling:
    Make thou me a mourner too:        45
Make me bear about Christ’s dying,
Share His passion, shame defying:
    All His wounds in me renew.
 
Wound for wound be there created:
With the Cross intoxicated        50
    For thy Son’s dear sake, I pray—
May I, fired with pure affection,
Virgin, have through thee protection
    In the solemn Judgement Day.
 
Let me by the Cross be warded,        55
By the death of Christ be guarded,
    Nourished by divine supplies.
When the body death hath riven,
Grant that to the soul be given
    Glories bright of Paradise.        60
 
 
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