Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
Syria: Calvary, the Mount
Mater Dolorosa
Jacopone da Todi (c. 1230–1306)
Translated by E. C. Benedict

WEEPING stood his mother, sighing
By the cross where Jesus, dying,
      Hung aloft on Calvary;
Through her soul, in sorrow moaning,
Bowed in grief, in spirit groaning,        5
      Pierced the sword in misery.
Filled with grief beyond all others,
Mother—blessed among mothers—
      Of the God-begotten Son!
How she sorroweth and grieveth,        10
Trembling as she thus perceiveth
      Dying her unspotted one!
Who could there refrain from weeping,
Seeing Christ’s dear mother keeping
      In her grief, so bitterly?        15
Who could fail to share her anguish,
Seeing thus the mother languish,
      Lost in woe so utterly?
For the trespass of his nation
She beheld his laceration,        20
      By their scourges suffering.
She beheld her dearest taken,
Crucified and God-forsaken,
      Dying by their torturing.
Mother, fountain of affection,        25
Let me share thy deep dejection,
      Let me share thy tenderness;
Let my heart, thy sorrow feeling,
Love of Christ, the Lord, revealing,
      Be like thine in holiness!        30
All his stripes, O, let me feel them,
On my heart forever seal them,
      Printed there enduringly.
All his woes, beyond comparing,
For my sake in anguish bearing,        35
      Let me share them willingly.
By thy side let me be weeping,
True condolence with him keeping,
      Weeping all my life with thee;
Near the cross with thee abiding,        40
Freely all thy woes dividing,
      In thy sorrow joined with thee.
Virgin, of all virgins fairest,
Let me feel the love thou bearest,
      Sharing all thy suffering;        45
Let me feel the death they gave him,
Crucified in shame to save them,
      Dying without murmuring.
Let me feel their blows so crushing,
Let me drink the current gushing        50
      From his wounds when crucified.
By a heavenly zeal excited,
When the judgment fires are lighted
      Then may I be justified.
On the Cross of Christ relying,        55
Through his death redeemed from dying,
      By his favor fortified;
When my mortal frame is perished,
Let my spirit then be cherished,
      And in heaven be glorified.        60

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