Salve, Caput Cruentatum

Salve, caput cruentatum, is the beginning of one of Bernard's seven passion hymns. The original, in fifty lines, in five stanzas, addressed to the face of Christ ("Ad faciem Christi in cruce pendentis"), is the best of the seven passion hymns, and runs thus in the first stanza:

"Salve, caput cruentatum, Totum spinis coronatum, Conquassatum, vulneratum, Arundine sic verberatum. Facie sputis illita. Salve, cujus dulcis vultus Immutatus et incultus Immutavit suum florem, Totus versus in pallorem, Quem coeli tremit cura."

There are different English renderings of this hymn, as by Mrs. Charles, Christian Life in Song, p. 159: "Hail, thou Head! so bruised and wounded," which is also found in Schaffs Christ in Song; by Alford in the Year of Praise, No. 102: "Hail! that Head with sorrows bowing;" by Baker, in Hymns, Ancient and Modern, No. 97: "O Sacred Head, surrounded." There are a number of German translations, but the best is that by Gerhardt: "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden," which again has been translated into English by Alexander and others. (B.P.)

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