O Sacred Head Surrounded

Full Text

1 O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
so shamed and put to scorn!
Death's pallid hue comes o'er thee,
the glow oflife decays;
yet angel-hosts adore thee,
and tremble as they gaze.

2 Thy comeliness and vigour
is withered up and gone,
and in thy wasted figure
I see death drawing on.
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesu, all grace supplying,
turn thou thy face on me.

3 In this thy bitter passion,
good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #181

Author (attributed to): Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux, saint, abbot, and doctor, fills one of the most conspicuous positions in the history of the middle ages. His father, Tecelin, or Tesselin, a knight of great bravery, was the friend and vassal of the Duke of Burgundy. Bernard was born at his father's castle on the eminence of Les Fontaines, near Dijon, iu Burgundy, in 1091. He was educated at Chatillon, where he was distinguished for his studious and meditative habits. The world, it would be thought, would have had overpowering attractions for a youth who, like Bernard, had all the advantages that high birth, great personal beauty, graceful manners, and irresistible influence could give, but, strengthened in the resolve by night visions of his mother (who had dies! in… Go to person page >

Translator: H. W. Baker

Baker, Sir Henry Williams, Bart., eldest son of Admiral Sir Henry Loraine Baker, born in London, May 27, 1821, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated, B.A. 1844, M.A. 1847. Taking Holy Orders in 1844, he became, in 1851, Vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire. This benefice he held to his death, on Monday, Feb. 12, 1877. He succeeded to the Baronetcy in 1851. Sir Henry's name is intimately associated with hymnody. One of his earliest compositions was the very beautiful hymn, "Oh! what if we are Christ's," which he contributed to Murray's Hymnal for the Use of the English Church, 1852. His hymns, including metrical litanies and translations, number in the revised edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, 33 in all. These were cont… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O sacred head surrounded By crown of piercing thorn
Title: O Sacred Head Surrounded
Latin Title: Salve caput cruentatum
Author (attributed to): Bernard of Clairvaux
Translator: H. W. Baker
Meter: D
Language: English
Notes: Although the Psalter Hymnal Handbook states that Sir H. W. Baker revised James Waddell Alexander's "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" which was an English translation of Gerhardt's "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden" which was a German translation of "Salve caput cruentatum", it appears that "O Sacred Head Surrounded" is a translation from the Latin (See "A Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient and Modern," edited by Moorsom, 1889 in which Baker translated other texts from Latin)- Dianne Shapiro
Copyright: Public Domain



The tune HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN has been associated with Gerhardt's text ["O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"] since they were first published together in 1656. The tune's first association with a sacred text was its attachment in 1913 [sic: should read 1613] to Christoph Knoll's funeral text "Herzl…

Go to tune page >



Instances (1 - 18 of 18)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
African American Heritage Hymnal #251TextPage Scan
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #181Text
Catholic Book of Worship III #378
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #235
Common Praise (1998) #198TextPage Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #120Page Scan
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #546
Gather (3rd ed.) #512Page Scan
Gather Comprehensive #415TextPage Scan
Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #435Page Scan
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #68
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #139
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #389?
Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #299
Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #426Page Scan
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #385
Worship (4th ed.) #489
Worship: a hymnal and service book for Roman Catholics (3rd ed.) #434Page Scan
Include 46 pre-1979 instances