Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 145. The Child-Christ on the Cross
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
145. The Child-Christ on the Cross
By Henry Nutcombe Oxenham  (1819–1888)
‘Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper.’

VICTIM of love, in manhood’s prime
  Thou wilt ascend the Cross to die:
Why hangs the Child before His time
  Stretched on that bed of agony?
‘No thorn-wreath crowns My boyish brow,        5
  No scourge has dealt its cruel smart,
In hands and feet no nail-prints show,
  No spear is planted in My heart.
‘They have not set Me for a sign,
  Hung bare beneath the sunless sky,       10
Nor mixed the draught of gall and wine
  To mock My dying agony.
‘The livelong night, the livelong day,
  My child, I travail for thy good,
And for thy sake I hang alway       15
  Self-crucified upon the Rood.
‘To witness to the living Truth,
  To keep thee pure from sin’s alloy,
I cloud the sunshine of My youth;
  The Man must suffer in the Boy.       20
‘Visions of unrepented sin,
  The forfeit crown, the eternal loss,
Lie deep my sorrowing soul within,
  And nail My Body to the Cross.
‘The livelong night, the livelong day,       25
  A Child upon that Cross I rest;
All night I for My children pray,
  All day I woo them to My breast.
‘Long years of toil and pain are Mine,
  Ere I be lifted up to die,       30
Where cold the Paschal moonbeams shine
  At noon on darkened Calvary.
‘Then will the thorn-wreath pierce My brow,
  The nails will fix Me to the tree;
But I shall hang as I do now,       35
  Self-crucified for love of thee!’



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