O Sacred Head

Words: D • Latin hymn probably by Arnulf von Löwen (c. 1200-1250), tr. Paul Gerhardt (1653, German), tr. James W. Alexander (1830, English), st. 2 alt.
Music:PASSION CHORALE • Hans L. Hassler (1601), arr. Johann S. Bach (1727)



O sacred head, now wounded,
  With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
  With thorns, Thine only crown—
How art Thou pale with anguish,
  With sore abuse and scorn;
How does that visage languish,
  Which once was bright as morn!


What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered
  Was all for sinners’ gain;
For mine was the transgression,
  But Thine the deadly pain!
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
  ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
  And grant to me Thy grace.


What language shall I borrow
  To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
  Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me Thine forever!
  And, should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
  Outlive my love to Thee!

Compared to Hymnals

  No. Words Music
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs 224 Lacks vs 2 Omits optional low bass note
in measures 3 & 6
Songs of Faith and Praise 318 Lacks vs 2 Omits optional low bass note
in measures 3 & 6
Praise for the Lord 484 Uses original wording for vs 2 (see below) Omits optional low bass note
in measures 3 & 6
Hymns for Worship (Revised) 136 Lacks vs 2 Identical
Songs of the Church 398 Lacks vs 2 Identical
Sacred Selections n/a
Christian Hymns No. 2 n/a
Great Songs of the Church No. 2 563 Lacks vs 2 Identical

For verse 2, we made two alterations to the original wording:

  • We changed “Mine, mine was the transgression” to “For mine was the transgression”
  • We changed “Vouchsafe to me Thy grace” to “And grant to me Thy grace”





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Through [Jesus] let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.
— Hebrews 13:15