Ada Cambridge

(21 November 1844 – 19 July 1926 / St Gemans, Norfolk)

The Crown of Thorns



“And unto Adam He said . . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake. Thorns . .
. . shall it bring forth.”
“And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head.”

In bitterest sorrow did the ground bring forth
Its fatal seed. Thine eyes beheld the birth—
Beheld the travail of accursèd earth;
E'en then, O Lord! in greater love than wrath!

Thou sawest the sin that none could gather out—
The vineyard cover'd with the thorn and briar;
Thou sawest the fair land ready for the fire—
And still Thy pity compass'd it about.

Thou, O most merciful! didst spare the brand;
Thou didst redeem the Paradise of God;
The thorns were rooted from the stubborn sod,
In pain and toil, by Thine own blessèd hand.

How was our path to heaven o'ergrown with sin—
Bramble, and thistle, and the poisonous weed!
Though hearts should break, and patient feet should bleed,
And strive and struggle, none could walk therein.

And Thou didst call us when we went astray—
Didst make our high road straight for evermore;
And, for our guidance, passèd on before,
Leaving Thy shining footprints in the way.

Still do the wild thorns hedge us round about;
Still grow the thistles from the ancient stock;
Still trails the bramble on the blasted rock—
But we can dig, and Thou wilt pull them out.

Ay, we can work—oh, help us in the strife!
Labour is sweet, for Thou dost share it now.
And we shall eat, in sweat of furrow'd brow,
Not earthly food, but Thine own Bread of Life.

And there are thorns of suffering left behind—
Sorrow and loss—that weigh our courage down;
But, ah! we know Thy sacramental crown
Was made of sin and sorrow, intertwined.

Give us of Thy sweet patience, Lord, we pray.
We would not spurn them with rebellious kicks,
Nor fret and strive, for Thou canst feel the pricks;
We too would wear them as a crown for aye.

We would put on Thy likeness—we, the least
And most unworthy. Ay, each piercing thorn,
In Thy name patiently and meekly worn,
Shall bear a blossom for the bridal feast.

Look down, O Brother with the yearning eyes!
Behold us kneeling at Thy bitter cross!
Grant us a share in all Thine earthly loss,
That we may share Thy gain in Paradise.

O weary Head! we see Thee drooping now
Beneath that diadem of mortal pain:
We see Thee sprinkled with the scarlet stain;—
Drop down the chrism on our polluted brow!

O sacred Head!—pale, beautiful, benign—
On our heads be Thy precious blood, we cry!
Lo, the destroying angel, passing by,
Shall spare to smite us—reverencing the sign.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 02, 2010

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