Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.@Luke 23:34

Cecil F. Alexander, in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1875, alt.

Valet Will Ich Dir Geben Melchior Teschner, 1613 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Cecil F. Alexander (1818-1895)

Forgive them, O my Father,
They know not what they do.

The Savior spoke in anguish,
As sharp iron nails went through.
No word of anger spoke He
To them that shed His blood,
But prayer and tenderest pity
Large as the love of God.

For me was that compassion,
For me that tender care;
I need His wide forgiveness
As much as any there.
It was my pride and hardness
That hung Him on the tree;
Those cruel nails, O Savior,
Were driven in by me.

And often I have slighted
Thy gentle voice that said:
Forgive me too, Lord Jesus,
I knew not what I did.
O depth of sweet compassion!
O love divine and true!
Save Thou the souls that slight Thee,
And know not what they do.

illustration
Elevation of the Cross
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)