O Cross, we hail thy bitter reign

Full Text

O Cross, we hail thy bitter reign,
O come, thou well-beloved guest!
Whose sorest sufferings work not pain,
Whose heaviest burden is but rest.

For is not our Redeemer bound
In closest ties of love to those
Who faithful to the cross are found,
Through ceaseless tears, through saddest woes?

Hark, the confessors of the faith
Yet of their cross and fetters boast;
All saints have borne it to the death,
With all the martyrs' radiant host.

Pledge of our glorious home afar!
Thee, Holy Sign, with joy we take,
Sign of a peace life could not mar,
Of just content death could not shake:

The Sign how Truth, once crucified,
Now throned in majesty doth reign,
How Love is bless'd and glorified,
That here on earth was mocked and slain.

Their names are writ in words of light
Who here on earth their Lord confest;
They hear the bridegroom's cry at night,
Come to my marriage feast, ye blest!

Who then would faint, nor join to share
In Christ's reproach, in want or pain?
The bitterest death who would not dare?
Who fears a martyr's crown to gain?

Up, Brethren of the Cross! and haste
Where Christ our Head hath gone before!
We hymn His praise the while we taste
The shame and death He sometime bore.

In bonds and stripes, in falsest blame,
Our crown, our dearest wealth we see,
A dungeon were a throne, and shame
Our chiefest glory, borne for Thee.

What though the world on us may fling
Its scorn, and oft we strive with death,
The holy angels speed to bring
Our help and strength, our victor's wreath.

Up, quit the gates where sin abides,
From earth's doomed cities quickly come,
Yon eastern Star full surely guides
All pilgrims to their Father's home.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #65

Author: Ludwig Andreas Gotter

Gotter, Ludwig Andreas, son of Johann Christian Gotter, Court preacher and Superintendent at Gotha, was born at Gotha, May 26, 1661. He was at first privy secretary and then Hofrath at Gotha, where he died Sept. 19, 1735. He was a pious, spiritually-minded man, with tendencies towards Pietism; and one of the best hymnwriters of the period. Of his printed hymns the earliest appeared in the Geistliches Gesang-Buch, Halle, 1697. Of the 23 included in Freylinghausen's Geistleiches Gesang-Buch, 1704, and Neues, 1714, seven have been translated into English, besides his version of J. W. Petersen's "Salve, crux beata, salve (q. v.). J. C. Wetzel, who had become acquainted with him during a visit Gotter made to Römhild in 1733, mentions a complete… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O Cross, we hail thy bitter reign
German Title: Kreuz wir grüssen dich von Herzen
Author: Ludwig Andreas Gotter (1697)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Meter: 8.8.8.8
Language: English

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